Obituary: Betty Bryan Bershinsky
January 21, 1937 – March 18, 2021
Betty Jane Bryan Bershinsky died at home on her farm in Hartshorne, OK, wednesday, March 18th after a long illness.
Betty was born January 21, 1937 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Thomas Stanley Bryan and Marjorie Mae (nee Crowley) Bryan. Her birth was at home with her eldest sister Barbara delivering her before the doctor arrived. The temperature in Steamboat that late afternoon was -40 degrees.
Betty grew up in the Colorado Rockies around Steamboat Springs where her dad worked as a coal miner in local mines. In school, grades 1-12 Betty was active in Drama, Speech, Debate, Indian Maidens Club, Cheer and she was a member of the ski team. Betty graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in the spring of 1955, four months after marrying James Lawrence Bershinsky, a Navy seaman from Mount Harris Colorado stationed at Point Mugu, Ventura California. Forgoing a drama scholarship to Colorado University, Boulder, CO, Betty joined her husband in Ventura, California and she went to work as a sewing machine operator for Catalina Swimwear.
After Jimmy’s active service ended the couple moved back to Colorado in 1956 to start their family. After a couple kids over a couple of years they realized that there were few avenues for advancement for them in Colorado and they moved back to California to seek better jobs. They lived eleven years around Los Angeles building a better life but in 1968 Jimmy had an accident that left him unable to work. They lost their new home, new car and were forced to move to Oklahoma where they had the support system of Jimmy’s parents.
After getting to Oklahoma in 1968, Betty worked as a sewing machine operator for a time at Elsings, a garment manufacturing plant in McAlester Oklahoma. Needing a better way to help support her family she applied for LPN School, was accepted and her post high school education began. After working a few years as an LPN & ultimately excelling to one of the best, she applied for RN school and was accepted. She then worked fulltime as an LPN and began classes toward her RN at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, OK.
After receiving her RN in 1980, Betty worked for McAlester Regional Hospital on the orthopedic floor for two years. She rose to supervising nurse of that floor and was often summoned by Doctor Carl Sauer to help with the difficult patients. Wanting weekends and holidays off with her remaining two kids at home she began work as a public health nurse and rose through the ranks to become a District Nursing Supervisor for five counties in Oklahoma. At 52 Betty received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. A gifted technical writer, she was called on to write protocol for managing the Aids Epidemic by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. She helped open the first clinic for Aids testing in McAlester, OK, at the Pittsburg County Health Department.
In 1999 Betty retired from Oklahoma Department of Health. Her days were filled with gardening, selling Mary Kay Makeup and visiting with family and friends. She loved her family. She had friends from every walk of life imaginable and she treated them all the same. Another love was the farm where she lived in Hartshorne, Oklahoma.
Preceded in death by her parents, five sisters: Lou Ray (nee Bryan) Vanek, Marjorie (nee Bryan) Grove, Barbara (nee Hunderman) Masters, Gretchen (nee Hunderman) Johnson, and Sharon (nee Bryan) Sills, two brothers: Jack Tuck and Robert Grant Bryan. She is survived by her four children, sons: James Bryan Bershinsky, Patrick Bershinsky and wife Tonia (nee Hunnicutt) Bershinsky, Kelly Bershinsky and husband Alfie (ne’ Argamazo) Bershinsky, daughter: Shelly (nee Bershinsky) Brawley and husband Joe Brawley, four grandchildren, grandsons: Craig Willems and wife Chantel (nee Jackson) Willems, Stanley Cole Bershinsky and wife Nicole (nee Talbert) Bershinsky, granddaughters: Morgana (nee Brawley) Duff and husband Joshua Duff, Kaitlin (nee Bershinsky) Falk and husband Brock Falk, six great grandchildren: Angelina Willems, Juleeanna Willems, Jackson Duff, Brinley Falk, Macy Duff, and Kaston Falk.
A celebration of life will begin at 12:00 noon on August 21, 2021 at Steamboat Springs Cemetery, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Luncheon following at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, American Legion Room, 1605 Lincoln Ave. Please bring your stories and your appetite.
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