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Betty I. Overton, age 66, of Ionia, passed away on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at Sheridan Community Hospital.

The daughter of Arcadio & Shirley (Barton) DeVera, she was born on June 17, 1948 in Evanston, Illinois.

Honoring her wishes, cremation will take place. Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.

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  1. Mary Sowder on November 29, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has been there for me during this difficult time in my life. I have lost many loved ones to our enemy death over the years, but the loss of my mother has been especially difficult to deal with. I know in my heart that she’s not suffering any more with all the ailments of our imperfect bodies especially the ones compounded with old age, I know she’s not affected by our sadness as we try to cope with her loss, and I know I will get to see her again when she’s resurrected in God’s new world that awaits us. I know that until then she’s simply sleeping, just as Jesus described his dear friend Lazarus’ condition when he died. (“Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” Since the disciples did not immediately grasp the meaning of this statement, Jesus said plainly: “Lazarus has died.”—John 11:1-15.) He was dead, sleeping, unconscious, not aware of the world and the craziness that we are still a part of here.

    They are peacefully sleeping until Jehovah God wakes them and welcomes them into a wonderful world made new, cleansed of the badness and craziness and imperfection that mars this beautiful planet we call home. (John 5:28 “Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice”) I have full confidence, as did Lazarus’ sisters, Job, Jonah, and many other faithful servants of God that he will remember my mother in every perfect detail, from her infectious smile to her warm laughter and tender embraces.

    (Lazarus’ sister Martha told Jesus, “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus then told her: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.”—John 11:20-25.) Being infinite in wisdom and perfect in memory, Jehovah God can easily resurrect a person. Remembering the life pattern of dead ones—their personality traits, their personal history, and all the details of their identity—is not a problem for him. (Job 12:13; compare Isaiah 40:26.) Jehovah is also the Originator of life. Hence, he can readily bring back to life the same person, giving her the same personality in a newly formed body. Moreover, as the experience of Lazarus indicates, Jesus Christ who is king of God’s kingdom is both willing and able to resurrect the dead.—Compare Luke 7:11-17; 8:40-56.
    She’ll join us again when there’s no more sadness or pain or suffering of any kind. (Revelation 21:3, 4 “With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”) When God’s kingdom comes and wipes away all those things, and when he’s cleansed the earth as he did in Noah’s day (but permanently this time), when the kingdom Jesus told us to pray about has finally arrived… she’ll be awakened. (Matthew 6:10 “Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth”) THEN…. this emptiness I feel will be filled, the hole in my heart repaired, the aching that doesn’t want to seem to go away will finally disappear.

    If I had been left to my own grief, I might have crawled into a hole and stayed there. I might have become a crazy cat lady, hiding away from the world losing whatever semblance of sanity I thought I possessed. But my friends and family love me too much for that. They have not left me alone for a day, for an hour, for a minute. I’ve been embraced with visits, hugs, tears, shoulders, smiles, and listening ears. I’ve received dinners, cards, letters, calls, texts, and posts that are innumerable… and my gratitude is immeasurable. As I was forced to stop dwelling on her death, I started to remember her life. I remember her strength, her determination, and her willingness to forgive. I remember her will to survive and provide for her precious children, of which I was privileged to be one of five that lived to see her, to know her, and to love her. The ones she lost along the way are sleeping as well and I’ll get to meet them when they are awakened in the resurrection too. Boy, will Mom be thrilled to see them!

    I remember her cooking, listening as different neighbors or friends over the years if they had problems or issues they needed to get off their chests, and playing. She always played and joked and laughed and drew… and sang. She loved art and music. Through the toughest times… she would sing. She would sing happy songs, she would sing sad songs, she would sing about survival… she would sing aloud with a smile or through the tears. As I was looking through old posts of lost loved ones over the years, I thought it was uncanny that after her mother passed a video was posted of Grandma singing, and now after my mother passed a video was posted of her singing. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? In that case, I guess I better start taking singing lessons.

    As I start focusing more on her life and less on her death, I can’t help but feel a little less empty and lot more grateful that I was honored enough and blessed enough to be a part of her family, to be one of the ones she fought for so fiercely. She believed in each one of us, never gave up on any of us, and was always there for us… no matter what. She did her best for us, always. I learned a LOT from her. I wish I had more time to learn more now. But, I will have to wait until she wakes up to ask her whatever questions will still matter or that linger when the time comes. In the mean time, I will cling to what I have, which is a treasure trove of memories and a heart full of love. I will try my best to be the daughter she will be proud to wake up to, and to have lived a life I’ll be proud to share with her when she returns to us.

    That being said, I guess I need to start living life again and stop hiding out in my bed or under the covers. I have been functioning as a shell of who I was, barely there mentally, and definitely not emotionally. But she wouldn’t want that. She always wanted me to smile, and always did her best to make sure I had every reason to smile. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sad and feel crushed and like I can’t breathe most of the time. I’m smiling one minute, and crying the next. I still see something and want to forward it to her in an email or call her or Skype her. I haven’t been able to delete her from my phone or my email or any of the many ways we stayed connected. I suppose that will come with time. And in the mean time, I want to continue doing the things I know she would want me to do. I’m sure the enjoyment I used to have in living will return with time.

    She was going to come with me to our summer convention last year, but that didn’t work out. She was going to try again this year. That didn’t work out either. Man, she used to love the conventions. She used to try to record them or take notes to try and remember all the great information from the Bible they shared with us. She really liked the reminders of the valuable gems of information that were always in the Bible, but that sometimes we forgot, or sometimes we never knew were there. There was always practical application of Bible principles, teaching us to be better neighbors, employees, friends, and family members. I saw the changes in her when she started learning Bible truths, and was elated when she found the strength to finally stop smoking with Jehovah’s help and the help of her friends in the congregation. I’m going to take many notes at all the upcoming conventions so I can share them with her when she wakes. It may not matter by then, but maybe she’ll still want to review them with me like she always used to.

    And I’m going to do other things she’d want me to. For instance, I was supposed to have a Jamberry Nail Wrap party last week and had ordered purple ones so we could both have purple nails for the party. Purple was her favorite color. I thought about canceling the party at first, and I did postpone it already. However, I know she would have loved it … and her purple nails. We had gone to get our nails done professionally a few times, and once when we were at Great Wolf Lodge we snuck away to the spa to get our nails painted while the boys played away the day. I was thinking this week that she wouldn’t want me to cancel it, and she would want me to have fun and wear my purple nails! So, I will. I will wear them and take pictures once I have them on. I’ll try to be as resilient as she always was… stubborn too, refusing to let this life and the craziness in it destroy my happiness… just like her.

    The Bible says that death is our enemy, and God will eventually fix that for us. (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26 “For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.”) That is 100% correct. We weren’t made to die. Adam and Eve were made to live forever. Although they messed up, God immediately set out a plan to eventually fix the rift that they created between man and God. He eventually sent Jesus, his son, to preach and teach, and to die as a propitiatory sacrifice. His blood was to cover the sins of the world and enable us to repair our relationship with God if we so chose. Well, I choose! I want to be there in Paradise, I want to live a life that proves to God that I love Him and that I really really really want to be in his New World when he cleanses this world and makes it new. I want to be a citizen in his Kingdom, and as such, I want to prove that I am willing to live by His standards and His laws… just as any citizen would have to do when moving to a new country under a new government.

    Well, God’s government doesn’t only promise great things, it will and can deliver all it promises. In fact, Jesus performed many miracles to prove just how amazing God’s government will be, and how powerful God’s government is to make the positive changes we are all craving for. Think about God’s government health plan!?!? Remember how Jesus simply healed those with ailments? He fixed EVERYTHING for them, blindness, deafness, and even death. What health plan can compete with that? And can you imagine a government that promises that NONE of its citizens will ever go hungry again, ever? He fed thousands with a few fish and a few loaves of bread. There are many politicians that make great promises, but can they deliver on them? Can they scratch the surface of the real problems we face today? But Jesus, as king of God’s kingdom, can and WILL fix every ailment, every problem, and every reason for sadness. Can you imagine a politician say, “If you vote for me, you’ll never be sad again, ever!”? Well, that’s what God’s Kingdom can and will do.
    So, in closing… I vote for God’s kingdom, I vote for the king of God’s kingdom – Jesus, and I am applying for citizenship in that kingdom. In order to be accepted into a new government, you need to learn what their laws are and agree to abide by them. (Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.”) So, I am applying myself to learning God’s laws and applying them in my life. I have agreed to abide by them. In fact, I’m so excited about “moving there” to Paradise and becoming a citizen of His kingdom that I have been spending a lot of time telling others about it, and telling them how they too can become citizens of this wonderful new kingdom that’s coming. All the people struggling to sneak into the US because they think life here is going to be so much better, and yet there is a BETTER government that will take ANY immigrant, and without as much effort.
    My mom used to like talking about what it was going to be like in Paradise. She liked to think about how people and wild animals would all get along. She used to talk about what it would be like to live in a world without any violence, without any hatred or sadness, without any prejudice. We used to play a game, looking around us and guessing what would NOT be in that new world. We would look around and talk about how there wouldn’t be a need for locks since nobody would steal anything, there wouldn’t be fences, and there wouldn’t be hospitals. There wouldn’t be jails, or courthouses, or hidden cameras. There wouldn’t be pharmacies, graveyards, or wheelchairs. There wouldn’t be commercials about starving children in Africa, newspapers filled with all the crime and violence that took place that day, or natural disasters such as tornadoes and tsunamis. There won’t be school shootings, terrorists, or hate crimes. There wouldn’t be death, there wouldn’t be memorials, and I’m happy to say… there won’t be any posts like this in Paradise. I love my mother and value all she tried to teach me. I look forward to seeing her again in the future. Until then, I’m going to live like she taught me to… with my head high and my heart on my sleeve. I’m going to continue to believe there is good out there, and assume you’re a good person until you prove otherwise. I’m going to smile… happy or not. I’m going to go on, and not let this world bring me down.

    Thank you again, to all my friends and family. I love you and appreciate all you do and all you are.

    – Mary



  2. Linda Rosa on November 29, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I just finished reading the manuscript written by my wonderful,caring,giving, loving daughter-in-law Mary.after reading it I now have insite why she is the way she is for the live and respect she had for her Mom.
    Although I didn’t know your mom Mary I feel as I know her a little as to the many things you’ve mentioned through the years about growing up.
    Grieving does not have a time limit. We’re not perfect by any means, for some it may be a short period of time, for many others it can be years, but try not to dwell on sadness remember the good times it will get you through as I speak from experience. I Love you ♡ mom, Linda



  3. Johnny DeVera Stuchel on December 1, 2014 at 8:55 am

    A sisters love never dies, although the body’s time runs out, she will forever be loved.



  4. Deborah Root-Pfrommer on December 1, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Although I never met you in person, I grew to think of you as a friend. May you Rest in Peace, Betty. My heartfelt condolences to your family for their loss. You made my life better. <3



  5. Pam on December 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    i will miss your humor and rides to n from your fav places. You will be missed I will keep you in my prayers.

    Pammy



  6. Sharon & Jim Stellini on December 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I must say it came as a shock when I learned of your passing. I only knew you through Facebook but I must say you touched my heart as a friend and encourager. You will be greatly missed. My prayers are with your family. May the presence of our Lord be felt through every passing day.Thank you for being you<3 Bill I hope my son will celebrate my life as you and your siblings have decided to celebrate your moms'. God Bless you all, Love in Christ



  7. Shawn Ladewig on December 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I hope your family is doing OK. Prayers and hugs.



  8. Dorothy Csolkovits on December 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    very sorry to hear about your mom. Where is the memorial? I’m guessing at the Ionia hall. Your mom was a really sweet lady. Hope to see you at the memorial. Dottie



  9. Dawn Navarro Danley on December 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I can’t wait to see her in the new system healthy and happy



  10. Robert Dupuy on December 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Betty, I will miss you always. Love Bob.



  11. Lynda Dine on December 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Although I never got to know your mom, I can tell what kind of a person she was by the way Mary shows love to others. She must have taught her children to love, and respect and deeply care for others, as this is how Mary responds to those she knows and loves. Always a hug, and a great big smile, and a willingness to invite you into her home and friendship. Soon, we will see her again. And give her back what she taught others….love.
    jlvn



  12. Tina Marie Valentin on December 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Betty in person but she was one of my dearest friends, she always had a kind word & always seemed to be there there when you needed her. She will be sadly & dearly missed.



  13. Icyelene Read on December 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    She was a sister and a neighbor



  14. Autumn Overton on December 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Grandma was always smiling. Always had a joke to tell. She always made me smile, laugh, feel great about myself. I’l never forget the wonderful time her and I had together. I’ll never forget her. I’ll never stop loving her.



  15. B.J. DeVera Niktabe on January 14, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Betty, my dear sister, I will always miss you. I heard a song that really made my heart ache over your death, yet at the same time, it made me smile, because it made me imagine you singing with a choir of angels, and I’ve loved your voice since the first time I heard you sing. Keep singing in the sky, I’ll listen for it.



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