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May 9, 1915 – Monday, January 23, 2012

Service Information
The Church of St. Francis in Buffalo, MN
Thursday, January 26, 2012
10:00 A.M.

Visitation Information
Wednesday, January 26th, 2012
5-8 P.M.

Elizabeth “Bette” Szarke was born in Lismore, MN on May 9, 1915 and died on January 23, 2012 under the wonderful care at Parkview Care Center. She was the 13th of 14 children born to Elisabeth Forkenbrock and Bernard Their.
At age 9, Bette and three of her sisters lived in an orphanage near Wabasha, MN after their mother died. Bette then lived with her oldest sibling, Hyacinth, helping care for her children near St. Clair, MN. She later lived with Dr. B.C. Ford’s family in Marshal, MN caring for children, doing housework and attending high school through graduation. Dr. Ford selected her high school classes and encouraged Bette to attend St. Mary’s in Rochester, MN. Upon completion of a nursing LPN degree, Bette married Joseph Szarke on September 29, 1936. Their first trip was a honeymoon to the now famous Wall Drug and the Black Hills.
Bette and Joe were blessed with six children during their marriage: Joseph~deceased, James (Dianne), Roger (Mary Ann), Steven, Betty (Don) and John (Lynn). Bette and Joe farmed near Delavan and Blue Earth before moving to Buffalo where Bette worked as a nurse at the Buffalo Hospital.
Bette loved to play bridge and travel. In addition to going to Hawaii five times, she visited twelve countries in Europe. She loved her husband, family, children, grandchildren and special friends and relatives.
She was devoted and practiced her religious faith.
Bette was preceded in death by her husband~Joseph, her oldest son~Joseph, her siblings, parents, two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren. Bette is survived by five children, eighteen grandchildren, eight step grandchildren, thirty eight great grandchildren and two step great grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Bette Szarke will be held on Thursday, January 26th at 10:00 A.M. at The Church of St. Francis in Buffalo. Father Hennen will be the Celebrant. Interment will follow at St. Francis Cemetery.
Special music will be provided by The Resurrection Choir.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 25th from 5-8 P.M. at The Church of St. Francis. A Rosary will be recited at 7:30 P.M.

Further visitation will be held on Thursday morning at the church one hour prior to Mass.

Casket Bearers will be David Szarke, Julie Pera, Ereyna Haugen, Shannon Szarke, Cheryl Szarke and Ben Skoglund.

The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo is serving the family. Online condolences may be made to

4 Guestbook Entries

  1. Josie (West) Kolasa

    Szarke family,
    I have some really nice memories of Bette when she lived in the same house as my aunt and uncle. I’m so sorry for your loss, she was a very kind woman.

  2. Mary Ann Hopkins

    To all of Bette’s family; I want to send to each of you my deepest sympathy as you experiance this loss and separation.
    After Sister Rita passed away I was pleased to continue a relationship with Bette mainly by phone but also got to visit her twice because Lorraine arranged for two personal visits to Buffalo when I was visiting in Mankato. I will cherish these memories. My Mom (Iris) had a chance to meet Betty and sends her sympathy as well. Prayerfully, Mary Ann Hopkins.

  3. Patty (Hinkemeyer) Thompson

    The Magic of a Mother’s Touch

    There’s magic in a Mother’s touch,
    and sunshine in her smile.
    There’s love in everything she does
    to make our lives worthwhile.
    We can find both hope and courage
    Just by looking in her eyes.
    Her laughter is a source of joy,
    her works are warm and wise.
    There is a kindness and compassion
    to be found in her embrace,
    and we see the light of heaven
    shining from a Mother’s face.

  4. Jerry and Bernice Tacheny and Family

    To the family of Bette Szarke,
    We send our deepest sympathy to all of you. Aunt Bette was a very special person, spiritual, kind and loving. Our family has fond memories of the home at Buffalo Lake. We spent many wonderful times together there. She was a joyous hostess. We were happy to still be able to speak with her on the phone now and again. She was an intelligent and positive woman and we had lively conversations. We shall miss her dearly. Prayfully, Jerry and Bernice Tacheny and family.


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