ROCHELLE — Betty Lu Barnes, 101, died Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 at the Rochelle Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Rochelle. Betty was born over a century ago on May 25, 1918 in Princeton, the daughter of Clifford H. and Della Mae (Asche) Allen. She graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 1936 and then from Northern Illinois State Teacher’s College in DeKalb with an Associates Degree in education. Betty taught two years in a one room school between Rochelle and Creston before marrying her high school sweetheart, Floyd “Barney” Barnes on Aug. 10, 1940 in Rochelle.
Betty has been involved with many local organizations. She was active in Camp Fire Girls and served on the National Board of Directors. Betty was in the Rochelle Women’s Club, 52 year member of the Daughters of American Colonists - Robert Hempstead Chapter, Rockford, various groups at the Rochelle United Methodist Church and was a volunteer and board member of the Flagg Township Historical Society and Flagg Township Museum. In fact, Betty and Floyd were founding members of the Historical Society and the museum. They were especially interested in Native American history in the Rochelle area. Betty devoted thousands of hours to Rochelle history, presenting programs at local schools, working at the museum, doing research and genealogy. Her work in her family genealogy led her to many discoveries, some delightful such as finding out she is related to Princess Diana and Prince William; they share a distant great-grandfather from the 1600’s and other findings she would probably prefer stay buried. She also taught genealogy classes through Kishwaukee Community College and helped many people in Rochelle do their own family histories.
In 1976, Betty and Floyd received the “Man of the Year Award,” which is now called the “Community Leader Award.” Betty was very proud of being an amateur ham radio operator, “K9YFY,” and was a member of the Kishwaukee Radio Club and the Rockford Amateur Radio Club. She was a member of the Prairie Preservation Society and the Rochelle School Volunteer Program “RSVP” for many years with her Rochelle history presentation for children.
Betty is survived by her two daughters, Rebecca (Charles) Barry of North Haverhill, New Hampshire, and Susan Engebretson of Rockford; one granddaughter, Rebecca Engebretson of Rockford; five great-grandchildren, Zaih, Amiah, Gabby, Athena and Mahalia “Lola”; two step grandchildren, Robert (Sandy) Barry and Amy (Paul) Perry; and two step great-granddaughters, Kathryn and Suzie Barry.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Floyd; and dear friends, Everett and Luella Cooley.
The family would like to thank Dr. Popp, her devoted caregiver, Svitlana and dear family friend, Esther Schippers.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 30 at the Unger-Horner Funeral Home, 400 N. 6th St., Rochelle, with Pastor Rob Hamilton officiating. The visitation will be prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m. on Monday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Lawnridge Cemetery in Rochelle.
Memorials may be made in Betty’s memory to the Flagg Township Historical Society or the Rochelle United Methodist Church.
Visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.