Betty Collison -- local resident, pillar of our community, and one of the remaining members of the Greatest Generation -- died peacefully on August 11, 2021, at the age of 98.
Anna Elizabeth Arceneaux was born May 31, 1923 in Welsh, Louisiana. She was the youngest of six children born to Dr. Rosamond and Anna (Unkel) Arceneaux. Betty Ann, as she was nicknamed, spent her childhood surrounded by numerous cousins, aunts, uncles and a pet alligator in the southwestern Louisiana bayou country. Though most of her life centered around Marshalltown, she remained a Southern girl with an enduring passion for her Cajun heritage. She often reminded listeners that Longfellow's Evangeline was based on Arceneaux ancestors.
Betty graduated from Welsh High School as valedictorian of her class. She continued her education at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated in 1944 with a B.S. degree in Dietetics and was also listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. During college, she was crowned U.S. Bond Queen and presented as "Queen Betty Ann" of the House of Arceneaux.
Betty met the dashing Captain Dr. David Collison who was stationed at Fort Polk Army Base in Louisiana. They married on September 27, 1947, and moved to Marshalltown, where David had established his dental practice with his father, Dr. Daniel Collison. Betty and David lived "in the country" and developed their forty acres into their own "Field of Dreams" complete with the Collison Par 3 Golf Course, fishing pond, swimming pool, and grass tennis court. Family and friends were treated to numerous and memorable parties at the Collison compound, always with delicious Southern food prepared by Betty, who laughed for years at her husband Dave's ever-evolving stories.
Betty was, first and foremost, a supportive wife to David and mother to her four energetic children: Lynn, Craig, Mark, and Madeline. She was a life-long member of St. Mary's Church (currently St. Francis of Assisi Parish) and served on many church committees. She remained active throughout the community in many organizations as a leader and volunteer.
Betty was a devout Catholic, a gracious host, a selfless volunteer, an avid reader, a lover of music, an engaging bridge player, a stylish dresser, and a student of genealogy, history and politics. She traveled to more than 30 countries. One of her trips included a rare visit with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during a four-week tour of India, Nepal, and Iran in 1972. Betty had a remarkable memory and an agile mind. She touched many lives with her warm spirit and a smile that many likened to Judy Garland's.
Betty is survived by her four children and their spouses, Lynn and Dan Moyle (Evergreen, Colorado); Craig and Sheila Collison (Dallas, Texas); Mark and Ann Collison (Marshalltown); and Madeline Collison and Jack Crawford (Denver, Colorado); 13 grandchildren: Thatch, Ryan, Elizabeth, Andrew, Katherine, Dax, Ben, Peter, Lora, John, Genevieve, Natasha, and Sophia; and 10 great grandchildren: Marshall, Adeline, Octavia, Lucy, Annabel, Sadie, Olivia, Thatcher, Adalynn, and Ellery. Betty was preceded in death by her husband David, her parents, and her five siblings. Like her husband, Betty donated her body to the University of Iowa School of Medicine.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis of Assisi Parish-St. Mary's Church, Marshalltown, Iowa on Monday, August 16, at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Francis of Assisi Parish/School at 107 S. 1st St., Marshalltown, Iowa 50158 or to a charity of your choice.
Dear Lynn and family, In searching for you to try and make a reconnection I see your dear mother passed away recently. I understand more now about where your graciousness came from.
Fond memories of you from U. Of Iowa days. May your precious memories sustain you as you grieve,
Thompson’s Station, TN
Marshalltown has lost one of the best in the passing of Betty Collison. I am so very blessed to have known Betty. Our condolences to her family. Wow! 98!
Craig and family, Your mom and dad were the most gracious people We’ve ever known. My high school days spent at your house still bring thoughts of joy to me 50 plus years later. Your family will be in Vickie and my prayers as we remember her.
In those quiet moments of memory, may you still feel her love. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Betty as we all know was one of the most interesting and outstanding people in our world. We are all very fortunate to have had the chance to have her shape certain things in all our lives. What a fantastic individual who took live to its fullest. We will miss her.
Craig & family, My thoughts & prayers are with you during this difficult time. May the many happy memories bring you comfort now!!! Always remember her great personality & friend she was to my mom, Betty!! Take care!! Debby Tomlinson
Wonderful memories of Betty shopping at Willard's- she was a fashionable, classy lady and a sweetheart !! Our sympathy to the family
Betty was absolutely one of the loviest individuals I have ever had the honor of knowing and serving at Elmwood Country Club. I will always remember her fondly!
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