Mary Elizabeth "Betsy" Rollins Kerste
Mary Elisabeth “Betsy” Rollins was born to Leighton Bond Rollins and Jane Elisabeth Munson Rollins on Feb. 3, 1943, in Bronxville, N.Y. She spent her childhood in Chappaqua, N.Y. She was the proud big sister of Ann and Richard.
On June 17, 1951, Betsy was baptized into the Christian faith. That faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would remain her compass throughout all stages of her life. The hope of the Gospel was her life.
At an early age, it became apparent to all that Betsy loved animals. She fondly recalled the family pets and the many horses she rode and showed. She was an accomplished horsewoman and won many prizes for her skills.
As a teen, she was employed as a lifeguard at the swimming pool. She spent her summer days working with children. She loved all children and they easily loved her.
After graduating in 1961 from Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y., she moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University. She decided upon CSU after looking through collegiate materials at her school’s library. She initially began her search looking for information on the University of Colorado at Boulder.
However, she inadvertently found information on CU’s rival university, CSU. She immediately liked CSU and firmly set her mind on studying there. There, at CSU, she met her best friend and life-long love, Clyde Allan “Ozzie” Kerste. The two married in the campus’ chapel on March 18, 1963.
In 1965, Betsy graduated from CSU with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. She loved science — botany, in particular — as was evident by her home, which was full of beautiful plants, both inside and outside.
In December 1965, Ozzie and Betsy moved to Craig, where they had two daughters. Kathryn Elisabeth was born to Ozzie and Betsy on May 24, 1967, and JoAnna Leigh followed almost two years to the day on May 25, 1969. Betsy always said that all she ever really wanted to do was be a wife and mother. She was a most wonderful wife and mother.
She was devoted to her children’s education, their many animals, and their various activities. Most importantly, she was an example of a strong Christian woman to her daughters, imparting her belief in Jesus as being central to all aspects of life. Kathy and JoAnna will forever be grateful to her for the living of her faith as their mother.
The family moved to Yuma in 1971, where Betsy taught preschool. In 1973, they moved to Las Animas. There, Betsy continued to work with children as a teacher of homebound students. And, in 1974, Ozzie and Betsy brought the family back to Craig.
Betsy continued to care for children as a Sunday school teacher and as a vacation bible school teacher.
Putting her science degree to use, Betsy also began working for Trapper Mine in 1978 as a chemist. She retired from Trapper Mine in 1999. “Retired,” she enjoyed substitute teaching in the Moffat County schools, where she loved to spend her days with the elementary school students of the community. She especially enjoyed her days with the special needs students.
After meeting and befriending many of the youngsters of the town, there was hardly a place where Betsy was not recognized by a child who would often run to her, hug her and excitedly introduce Ms. Betsy to his or her parents. When school was out for the summer, Betsy could be found working on preparations for the Moffat County Fair as a member of the Moffat County 4-H Foundation. She whole-heartedly served on the foundation for more than 20 years, always wanting to “help the kids.”
In 1990, Ozzie and Betsy became grandparents. Betsy loved being “Granny.”
To her grandson Ari Timothy Osborn and her granddaughters Ashleigh Lynne Santistevan and Faith Rebecca Santistevan, Granny again served as an example of a woman of faith.
Her grandchildren were blessed to live within minutes of Granny. She was an intricate part of their daily lives — a blessing that is not often experienced in this day of families separated by many, many miles. Her grandchildren are so thankful to have spent their childhoods with their Granny. In July 2009, Betsy became the delighted great-grandmother of Korie Elisabeth Osborn.
Betsy went to be with her Lord on June 26, 2010, after a time of illness involving a progressive lung disease. She died in Grand Junction.
Betsy is survived by her husband of 47 years, Ozzie Kerste; sister Ann Rollins; brother Richard Rollins; daughter Kathy and son-in-law Tim Osborn; daughter JoAnna and son-in-law Tracy Santistevan; grandson Ari and his wife, Ashley Osborn; granddaughters Ashleigh and Faith Santistevan; and great-granddaughter Korie Osborn.
To God alone be the glory for the life, death and new life in Christ of Mary Elisabeth Rollins Kerste.
A memorial service was July 2, 2010, at Faith Lutheran Church with Rev. John Turner officiating. Interment of remains took place at the Craig Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Faith Lutheran Church, American Lung Association, Human Society of Moffat County, or Moffat County 4-H Foundation in care of Grant Mortuary.