Fellowship time will follow the service
A memorial service will be held at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church on August 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Obituary for Betty Jane Fyksen
After a life well lived, Betty Jane (Dietz) Fyksen died on June 1, 2017 at Mount Olivet Careview Home in Minneapolis, MN. She was born at Anker Hospital, St. Paul, MN on May 26, 1923 to Reinhold Dietz and Alpha (Olson) Dietz. Betty was the first born of seven siblings and is survived by one brother, Roland Dietz, of Stillwater, MN. Betty embraced the role of “second mother” to her sister, Shirley, and brothers, Tom, Roland, Bob, Jim, and Jerry, throughout their lives, and in later years she was fondly referred to as the “family matron.”
Betty was born with a song in her heart and music in her soul, which would be woven deeply into the fabric of her life. The organ was her instrument of choice; however, she was also an accomplished pianist. Accompanying vocal soloists and choirs was a real “calling” for her and showcased her natural and versatile keyboard talents and the art of “backing up” a performer.
At ten years of age Betty’s first piano teacher was Mrs. Hill, who had studied at German Conservatories, and as a result, she was given a solid, basic foundation during those beginning lessons. At age twelve Betty used $12.00 from her savings to purchase a pump organ from a Goodwill store. She played her first church service at age fourteen. In her later years Betty had shared how she enjoyed playing a pump organ again for a hymn sing/ice cream social in Beldenville, WI while in her twenties. Betty relished taking organ studies at MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis and was deeply involved in continuing education through organ clinics and church music convocations in the Twin Cities area throughout her life.
Betty graduated from Monroe High School, St. Paul, MN. in 1941. She was given the first “Outstanding School Accompanist Award” in school history. Superb music sight-reading was another natural gift. She would have frequent sing-a-longs for the St. Paul Superintendent of Schools at that time since he found great joy in his singing, and was always grateful for her unselfish accompanying efforts.
In her teens Betty became gravely ill with a burst appendix. She promised God that if He let her live, she would always play the organ when and wherever needed. This promise was honored joyfully and humbly for over fifty years. The years were filled with much reward, laughter, frustration, and sometimes pain. On one occasion, in particular, all of the aforementioned rolled into one event. Vicious wasps were her constant “organ companions” in the balcony of the original Fourth Street Zion Lutheran Church. Her most ‘stinging” memory was a wasp’s deliberate bite in her armpit as she reached the last Amen of the Three-fold Amen. Only after she released her hands from the keys did the wasp let go.
The pinnacle of her long time Zion Lutheran organist career was the actual move to the new Mt. Zion Church on Thirteenth and Summer Streets. The opportunity to “baptize” the new Allen organ and work with its wide-ranging versatility was much anticipated. Betty sat for over five decades “on the bench,” but the last few years were a gift and life-giving to her until she retired in March, 2002 after forty-five years at Mt. Zion.
Betty played for over thirty years in a volunteer capacity at the Hudson Christian Community Home church services. She considered it an honor to volunteer her playing skills for the Hudson Women’s Club and for church services at Stillwater State Prison.
On vacations Betty never missed an opportunity to play organs. Her “resume” includes Iowa’s Little Brown Church in the Vale, Zion Lutheran Church in Loveland CO., and the Beckerath Pipe Organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. Betty also spoke often of the honor of playing at her son-in-law David’s ordination in 1971 at Hope Lutheran Church in Ladysmith WI.
Amidst all the music, her other employment history includes many years as head cashier and sales person for Hudson’s long-time Olson’s Department Store. Betty also worked at the Hudson Star-Observer as a proofreader, in classified sale ads, and front desk customer service.
Betty married Douglas A. Fyksen on June 30, 1945 in St. Paul, MN. In their 69 years of marriage, they enjoyed travels to numerous places throughout the United States plus trips to Germany, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Norway. These years also included many large and festive gatherings for family and friends from Hudson and elsewhere to celebrate their milestone birthdays and anniversaries. Betty was always the first to acknowledge Douglas’ faithful attitude and actions in supporting her music and other careers. Douglas never seemed to mind her “theological affair of the heart” with Martin Luther. Betty was a life-long, faithful, and invested member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its theology.
Betty is survived by her daughters Karen (David) Barber, Honolulu HI. and Laurie (Bill) Beise, Minneapolis, MN.; grandchildren, Timothy Barber, Loveland, CO.; Andrew (Nora) Barber, Newbury Park, CA.; Olivia, Isaiah, and Else Beise, Minneapolis, MN.; great-grandchildren, Kaari Barber-von Bernuth, Longmont, CO.; Christian and Ella Barber, Newbury Park, CA.; and Easton Beise Cauble, Minneapolis, MN.
Betty was a loving and supportive advocate for her daughters throughout their lives. She encouraged Karen and Laurie to accept any and all of life’s challenges and never wavered in her loyalty to her girls. Betty truly treasured being a grandmother. She was honored and loved by all her grandchildren. Doug and Betty took the “Barber boys” on numerous, well-planned yearly trips while providing the happiest of days at 805 Vine when they came for their summer visits. Doug and Betty were also very involved with the Beise grandchildren’s school activities and never missed holidays together and other family events. They were in awe of the opportunity to be great-grandparents and recognized and appreciated it as a rare gift.
Betty asked God to help her glorify Him in her organ playing. She believed that God gave us music that we might pray without words. Her favorite hymn was Oh, For a Thousand Tongues. The music and the faith message of this hymn will continue to remain steadfast in years to come, and she rested back into the promise and the words of this hymn her entire life and in her death.
A private, family burial took place on June 3, 2017 at Willow River Cemetery with the Rev. David J. Barber officiating. A memorial service will be held at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church on August 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. followed by fellowship and food. Cards as well as memorials to Mt. Zion Lutheran Church may be addressed to Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, 505 13th Street, Hudson, WI 54016.