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Van Beber, Elizabeth

Van Beber, Elizabeth

June 28, 1967 — November 3, 2020

Elizabeth “Betsy” Willard Van Beber passed away on November 3, 2020 in Overland Park Ks. She was 53. Betsy came into this world on June 28, 1967 as Elizabeth Anne Willard, the daughter of James and Elizabeth "Boo” (Buffe) Willard. She was the third of five children and grew up in the Red Bridge area of south Kansas City, riding her bicycle everywhere. She graduated from Center High School, obtained a degree in Communications from UMKC and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Kansas. She was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority.

Betsy spent the early years of her professional life working as a therapist at Gillis School for Boys, making a difference in the lives of emotionally challenged children. She married Eric Van Beber in 1996. Not too long after, she gave birth to her treasured daughters, and began her true calling as a loving and devoted mother. Despite the day-to-day challenges of raising kids, Betsy, as a loving wife and mother, always managed to have a laugh or a smile and was quick to hand out the hugs and encouragement. The feelings of others were what really mattered. Betsy’s legacy, and her greatest pride, were her strong, confident, and caring daughters.

Betsy was gentle and charming. Her love for her pets, especially her cats, knew no bounds. She fed any stray that wandered by. She was a voracious reader of novels and magazines. One of her favorite holidays was Halloween because she could interact with little ones and hand out candy. Trying to keep Betsy from children was like trying to keep bees from honey. It was why she was placed on this earth. Betsy’s heart condition stood in absolute contrast to the emotional fullness and she brought to her life, and to all those around her. Most of all, she loved her family with a fierceness that belied her body.

Betsy would not want anyone to grieve her passing. Instead, she would want her memory to bring a smile to your face and her wit to make you laugh. Words are inadequate to describe her beauty—inside and out—and so we stop here.

Betsy was preceded in death by her mother, father, sister Kathryn and brother David. She is survived by her husband Eric; daughters Kathryn “Katie” and Mary “Mimi”; brothers Rob and Ted Willard; Uncle Greg and Aunt Beth Buffe; Aunt Chandra and Uncle Sam Kirby; and Aunt Anne Mitchell; nephews Hal, Jack, John and James; nieces Claire Caroline, Emma, Leah and Audrey. And last - but not least - her cats Luna, Socks and Boo Radley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her memory to Wayside Waifs.

Due to COVID restrictions, a private family service will be held with burial in Mount Moriah Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Betsy's memory to Wayside Waifs.

Service Information

Due to COVID restrictions, a private family service will be held with burial in Mount Moriah Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Betsy’s memory to Wayside Waifs.

Van Beber, Elizabeth's Guestbook

I am so sorry to hear of Betsy's passing. She was such a great supporter of our theatre program at LKMS. I hope you will feel peace and comfort surrounding you, and may her memory be a blessing for you all.

Reed Uthe

Im So Sorry Betsy Was The Best Aunt I Ever Met I Spent My First Halloween At Her Place

James Willard

Eric, I was so sorry to read about the passing of your wife, Betsy. I never met her, but after reading her obituary, I feel like I had known her. I have been a Volunteer at Wayside Waifs for many years. I was there yesterday and made a donation to Wayside Waifs in her name. It is a fantastic organization and a wonderful mission...what a great way to remember Betsy. My thoughts are with you, my friend. John.

John Eyler

We are so deeply sorry to hear about Betsy! Our prayers our with your family, especially Katie and Mimi.

Joe and Heather Traul

Betsy and I attended Center High School together and she was one reason why high school was so much fun. Senior year Jewelry Class in particular was a blast and I also have great memories of one summer and an ice cream truck! When her lovely sister Kathy passed away, I remember Betsy telling me it was the saddest day of her life. I do not know Eric, Katie & Mimi, but I trust Betsy is at peace and I hope this message bring each of you just a small smile to your face when you think of her. Love You Betsy!

Carolyn Jost

Dear Eric, Mimi, Katie, Ted, Rob, and families: I am so sorry and so shocked! I have such pleasant memories of all the Willards as I was growing up, and of course in adulthood at so many gatherings. Betsy was a darling child and woman. I know how hard it is to lose a parent suddenly, you will all be in my prayers--you are such fun, nice people! It is unfortunate that we have lost touch, lately, but we will have to improve upon that when the pandemic is over. Much love, Sara Smith

Sara Smith

Dear Rob and Ted, We are so sorry that you've lost your lovely sister Betsy. Please know that you both are in our prayers as you grieve her passing.

Anola and Peter

What a great tribute to Betsy. She was one of my most favorite people I’ve ever known. Kind and helpful. She was ready to assist a friend in need in above and beyond ways. Same with pets. She had a huge heart and took care of everyone around her, animals too. She called herself the crazy cat lady with the little zoo she had going on. 😜 One word stands out to describe Betsy....Devoted. On various occasions she had the opportunity to join in daytime moms group type events and anything that could have remotely stood in the way of not being there when the girls school day ended, she declined. She was always there for her family! Brownie leader, devoted mom, awesome friend. I loved her sense of humor. She was so entertaining to visit with. She always had me laughing. I’m grieving alongside of you. Prayers for peace and comfort for your family for losing such an awesome lady way too young.

Cindy Nielsen

Dear Eric, Katie and Mimi: I cannot express the sympathy to you in the loss of a wife and mother. I didn’t know her well but felt like I did after reading the shocking news this morning. She obviously was always taking care of others including a husband, daughters, animals and those struggling to achieve. May the good Lord take your family in his arms and help you in this difficult time. My prayers are with you. God bless you. Rick Merker

Rick Merker

Eric, thoughts are with you and your girls through this difficult time. If Scott and I can do anything please let us know.

Valerie Fuller

Eric, I'm so sorry to hear of your wife's passing. Please know that I'm praying for you and your daughters. May God bless you with His healing and peace.

Margaret Brown

Eric, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You and your children are in my prayers and thoughts during this difficult journey. May God bless you and your family and hold Elizabeth in his loving arms.

Debbie Cichon

My daughter and I moved in next door to the VanBeber’s in 2012 and they made us feel very welcome to the neighborhood. Betsy always brought us special treats during the holidays which made us feel like home. I always enjoyed my conversations with her. She loved dogs which was great for me. When I had to travel for work or my meetings ran late she was always there for me to help out. Betsy and the girls would take the dog out to play or sometime take her for a walk which i truly appreciated. She was the kindest and most thoughtful person I have ever known. She was an amazing friend and I will miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with Eric, Katie and Mimi.

Phil Anderson

Prayers for the entire Van Beber family and especially to her beautiful daughters and husband. Our family will donate to Wayside Waifs in her lovely memory.

Mary Prokop

Betsy and I attended Center High School together. She was as elegant and graceful as a queen, and she seemed forever self-possessed and somehow untouched by the crazy ups and downs that afflicted the rest of us. She was clever and smart and the definition of classy. She will be sorely missed.

Michael Bailey

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