Mr. Burrow's mother, Betty Burrow, was born in 1923 at Rowley, Iowa. Her father died in an explosion when she was young, and she grew up mostly in the Iowa City area. Betty attended the University of Iowa, where she was active in the Wesley Foundation of the Methodist Church. She had a multiracial group of friends at college and was active in some early forms of civil rights protests, decades before that term was commonly used. It was through the Wesley Foundation that she met her husband George.
Betty spent part of World War II on Long Island, one of numerous American women who worked as part of the war effort. She was in New York when George wrote her to propose they be married after the war. Betty also spent some time teaching country school, and later in her marriage she occasionally did short-term secretarial work.
As a young woman Betty Burrow worked as a teacher in a country school. Later on she occasionally did clerical work. For most of her adult life, though, Betty was proud to be a homemaker. Even though the family rarely had much money to spend, she took pride in being able to decorate her home and prepare wholesome meals on a shoestring. She spent most of her free time reading; there was never a moment when she wasn't in the middle of some book.
Betty was active in arts and crafts groups, the PEO sisterhood, the American Association of University Women, the United Methodist Women, and the Questors. One of her major interests was writing to penpals. She sent letters to women in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Malaysia, and Holland--among other places. Betty enjoyed travel, and in her later years she had the pleasure of visiting many of her penpals in Europe. She started a tradition of writing travelogues that her son David continues to this day.
For most of David Burrow's life, Betty's health was not good. She suffered severe arthritis, high blood pressure, and a variety of other afflictions. Her health seriously deteriorated while David was in high school, and around the time he graduated she was diagnosed with nephroma (cancer of the kidney). For the next two years she was constantly in and out the hospital, and she eventually died of cancer in 1982.
This pinecone wreath, which Betty Burrow made in 1967, has hung on David Burrow's front door for more than three decades.
LEFT: Betty Zane Miller at the University of Iowa Wesley Foundation
(photo taken in the early 1940s)
MIDDLE: WWII poster encouraging women to work.
RIGHT: George and Betty Burrow on a ferry near Victoria, British Columbia.
(photo taken in the mid 1970s)
Betty and George Burrow in Seattle, Washington
Betty and George Burrow in their dining room in Mt. Pleasant, with the table set for Christmas dinner.
Betty Burrow standing outside the house in Mt. Pleasant after a heavy snowfall
Links to other sites on the Web
NEXT PAGE (Growing Up)
"Britain, Here We Come" (Betty Burrow's British Travelogue) (.pdf/Acrobat)
"Summer 1977 (Betty Burrow's Alaska/Northern Canada Travelogue) (.pdf/Acrobat)
Iowa City, Iowa
Orkney Islands, Scotland
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Palmerston North, New Zealand
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