Obituary of Betty Ruth Ney
Betty Ruth Ney (Kaplan) died peacefully in her sleep on February 22, 2022, seven lonely months after she lost her husband of 68 years. She will be remembered as the gracious anchor of her husband’s colorful lifestyle, but he knew that his success would not have been possible without her more down-to-earth counsel. She was a caring, inclusive individual within the community and with her family.
Betty was a working mother before it was the norm. After earning her BA degree at the University of Denver, she began teaching to support the family so that her husband could start his own law firm, an endeavor that did not guarantee an income for several years. She continued to teach for many years and devoted her professional life to students, especially those in need of a good, kind, and patient teacher. Later she earned a masters degree in special education from the University of Northern Colorado. She taught Head Start and special needs children at the Havern Center.
She always volunteered to make the world a better place. She proudly recalls shaking Martin Luther King’s hand, treasured the signature she got from Robert Kennedy on his way to California in 1968, and proudly recounted how Jimmy Carter kissed her (at a campaign rally). She participated in many of the causes of the 60’s and 70’s, including bringing her children to picket non-unionized lettuce producers and to help her gather signatures on a petition to restrict gun ownership. Her love of teaching continued into her retirement as she tutored college students at Arapahoe Community College and volunteered to help new immigrants master English and to pass the citizenship test.
Betty’s compassion for humanity was clearly reflected in her prolific artwork, especially in her sculpture. She captured the toil of the hardworking Portuguese fisherman repairing his nets, the thoughtful reflection of a rabbi, the grace of acrobats, and the abstract beauty of the human body. She depicted parents caressing young children etched out of alabaster and smoothed to a gentle softness.
She is survived by her three children, Linda Saeta (Peter), Diane Visser (Dan), and Richard Ney (Pam Muncaster) and eight grandchildren: Brennan, Ethan, and Ryan Saeta; Kyle and Kendell Visser; and Hannah Ney, Abby Hawley, and Thomas Ney).