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Obituary: Betty Rae Arnell

December 16, 1928 – September 15, 2023

Betty Rae Arnell Betty Rae Arnell, nee Vanderaa, age 94, went home to her Lord and Savior on Friday, September 15, 2023. Most recently of Crete, IL, Betty was born and raised in South Holland, IL but lived much of her adult life in nearby Glenwood. Beloved wife of Roland, loving mother of Mary (Gregory) Leffel, R. Scott (Cathryn) Arnell, and Lisbeth (James) Graves, cherished grandmother of Daniel Leffel, Kristin (Alec Brandon) Leffel, Rachel Leffel, Christian Arnell, Nicole Arnell, Mathis Arnell, Jessica Contreras, Marshall Back, and Tyler Back, and devoted great-grandmother of Lydia, Karina, Gael, Xavier, Mika, Reagan, and Marsh. She was preceded in death by her parents Gilbert and Jennie Vanderaa and siblings Marshall Vanderaa, Russell Vanderaa, Doris (late John) Voogd, and Gilbert Vanderaa.

As a young woman, Betty received her teaching certificate from Calvin College, and afterwards loved teaching grade school at Lansing Christian School. Possessing an avid appreciation for music, Betty was an accomplished pianist and vocalist, passing her love of music down to her extended family which includes amongst them, gifted singers, pianists, guitarists, drummers, and more. She also sang as a member of the Calvary Quartet and with the Illiana Oratorial Society until shortly before the pandemic in 2020.

Betty learned how to downhill snow ski in her 40s and enjoyed skiing with her family for many years after. Prior to snow skiing, Betty and Roland learned and enjoyed waterskiing. Their love of the water led them to purchase a vacation home in Culver, Indiana, where they enjoyed many years of family time at Lake Maxinkuckee. She was a devoted Christian, praying faithfully and reading devotions daily with her beloved husband throughout her life.

Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 9 a.m. until the funeral service at 11 a.m. at Faith United Reformed Church, 130 N. Corning Road, Beecher, IL with Rev. Nathan Vos officiating. Burial will take place at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Lansing, IL.

Memorial contributions may be given to the Bible League International. For more information please call 219-322-7300.

Smits Funeral Homes
Smits Funeral Homes
We are a family-owned business providing compassionate, professional end-of-life care. We handle all the details during a difficult time, so you can focus on the things that matter. We understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. Call our main office at 219-322-7300 to find out more about the customized services we can offer your family when the time comes.