The world changed for the better on November 12, 1926. Theodore and Sophie Satherlie, along with their children LeRoy, Eleanor, and Ken welcomed Betty Corinne Satherlie to their family. Years later, Sophie would call Betty’s arrival “a special gift from God.” All who knew Betty share that sentiment.
While Betty was growing up, she shared a room with her sister Eleanor in their house in Minneapolis. Raised during the Depression, she remembered playing simple games like hide-and-seek, kicking a can down the alley, bouncing balls off of the garage roof, and tending to her dolls. She spent her summers at Salvation Army camps where she loved campfires, but didn’t love the 7 a.m. flag raisings. During high school, she was the editor of her school paper and maintained Honor Roll status. On football game days at South High School, she would say “hello” to her teachers in the hallway, walk into the classroom, and then climb out the window into her dad’s ’38 Chevy filled with her friends. They would then drive to the game, honking all the way down the street.
Betty met Cliff Franzen when she was twelve years old and married him a decade later. He taught her to play cornet in The Salvation Army band, and she had a crush on him for many years. When Betty was sixteen years old, she kept a diary that detailed the highs and lows of her teenage life. On January 8th, she wrote: “I tried my best squeeze-on-the-sofa technique on Cliff, but Tunney had to be between us. Phooey, that Franzen man must be immune.” On an off day she wrote, “Tonight I felt so low I could have walked under a snake.” In reference to “Cliffy,” she alternated between adoration and frustration: “I wish that guy would get up some spunk and come around.” He did eventually come around, and the two wed in 1949.
The couple raised their children Doug, Debra, Diane, and Denise, and Betty filled their childhoods with Great Adventures. Betty thought the Waltz was a glamorous dance, so she taught it to Doug in their living room. They did not have any music, so Betty sang the tune. After a bath, she would wave at Debbie and Diane and say, “Goodbye girls, I am going down the drain!” One early morning, Betty woke Denise up, telling her they were going on a great adventure. As the sun rose over Lake Hiawatha, Betty and Denise crawled on the beach, pretending to be alligators.
Betty found professional success in her thirty-four year career with Northwestern Bell Telephone Company/U.S. West as a supervisor in the employment and business offices, but did not rest after her retirement: she had six grandchildren to play with! She sledded down hills with her grandchildren into her late 70’s, played Old Maid and Barbies with them for hours, and took them to the park near her house so often that the grandchildren affectionately renamed it “Granny’s Park.” She laughed so loud and hard watching funny movies with her grandchildren that they’d end up on the floor of her family room or the theater.
One of Betty’s many well-developed talents was scraping and eating warm fudge out of a pan and sharing boxes of Junior Mints. She loved bedtime and being in her jammies, when she could be “snug as a bug in a rug.” Betty could spend hours watching cardinals, blue jays, and sparrows outside her window. Anyone who met her immediately knew how much she loved to sing: she sang even more than she talked, and almost as much as she breathed. Her favorite song was “Jesus Loves Me.” She found and brought delight to almost all situations, and always said her greatest accomplishment in life was her children.
The last two decades of Betty’s life were shared with her dear friend, Bob. Together they spent time with family, mastered oil painting, and went on adventures around Minnesota and the world. They volunteered at Augustana, attended Bible study, and sang constantly. God blessed them with this relationship after they both lost their spouses.
During the last year, Betty and her sister Eleanor were roommates again. They filled the Clarebridge Memory Facility with music, as Eleanor played piano and Betty sang. They were in separate rooms until Betty kept sneaking out of her room at night to join Eleanor, and they often slept face-to-face. Within a few weeks, the girls were moved in together.
Today, her children call her blessed. They say no finer woman has ever graced this earth. Betty brought to this world grace and joy; she was a tower of strength in adversity, and a woman who never said an unkind word about anyone. Betty lived her life as instructed by God, with great faith, hope, and love. The greatest of her gifts was love.
Fantasy Fudge: The Recipe on the Marshmallow Creme Container
3 c sugar
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
¾ c unsalted butter
1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Creme
1 tsp vanilla
Turn on Glenn Miller's Moonlight Cocktail. Line a 9x13 pan with foil.
Boil sugar, butter, and milk, stirring frequently. When it reaches a rolling boil, stir constantly until the mixture reads 234 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. (Be very careful!)
Add chocolate and marshmallow creme and stir to melt. Add vanilla and mix. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Scrape a wooden spoon on the sides of the pan and enjoy the hot fudge, the way my Granny loved it best. After the fudge is cool, cut into small squares.