Share this Tribute

Let the family know you
care by sharing this tributes.

Elizabeth Anne Jager

Elizabeth “Betty” Jager, 87, died 10/28/21 after living a full and impactful life.

Betty was both an intellectual and a doer, propelled forward by endless curiosity and an invisible energy force deep within. She was tiny but her quick determined steps could be heard from across a house. Sitting still was not an option either literally or figuratively. Accepting the status quo was unthinkable.

Education was key to her. At the age of five she begged her mother to start first grade then completed high school by age 16. Next, Betty earned her nursing certificate from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1954 then studied at Marquette University where she met her first husband, Earl. Eighteen years later Betty would return to school to complete her bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College followed 14 years later by a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the Alfred Adler Institute of Chicago. Betty’s dedication to her goals paved the way for her own four children to believe there were no limits.

Raising children came with rules. Playing outside and reading were in. Watching TV was out. Picking flowers from a neighbor’s garden without permission required an apology. Turning 16 came with a suggestion to get a job. But with this there was also independence and freedom to explore ideas and the world.

In the neighborhood where she raised her family, Betty tried to save every sick or injured bird she found, whether it was a baby robin fallen from a neighborhood tree or a seagull dying along the shores of Lake Michigan. Watching Betty’s example, her children learned to value life in all its forms.

Betty was both an activist and feminist before it was cool. She refused to believe girls were born for specific roles. She participated in lettuce boycotts to improve the lot of migrant workers. She explicitly explained the wrongs of prejudice and discrimination to her children. She sobbed when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Watching Betty’s example, her children learned to experience injustice not only intellectually but emotionally.

Betty also put her caring to work in her nursing career, where she began first as a hospital nurse and later ran healthcare programs for College of DuPage and Illinois Benedictine College. In her late 40’s, Betty took on a new career as a State Farm agent, where she built a successful business in St. Charles, IL. Watching Betty’s example, her children learned the value of industry and grit.

It was while she was building her State Farm agency that she met her second husband, Linn. Married for 27 years, they danced and traveled, building memories of Hawaiian Luaus, western sunsets, the Canadian Rockies, and ballroom dancing. When hardship hit, Linn and Betty worked through it together, including the unimaginable loss of both of their sons.

Betty’s creative gifts were as prodigious as her intellectual gifts including abilities for singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, and writing. Her melodic singing voice never changed, as beautiful in her older years as when she was young. Even as her days grew short, she could mouth the words to nearly every hymn.

To those now left behind, Betty’s legacy is firmly rooted for future generations. She lived a life of determination and integrity on her own terms and showed others it was possible too.

Betty is survived by three daughters, Mary (Wallace) Drake, Ellen (Scott) Drizin, and Kathleen (Jose) Andrade; stepdaughter-in-law Sheryl Jager; grandchildren Shannon, Jenna, Brandon, and Carson; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Linn Jager; son Michael Puls; stepson Scott Jager; parents Patrick and Elizabeth Costello; and brother Walter Costello. Services will be held at a later date where Betty will be laid to rest with Linn at Bay Pines National VA Cemetery.

Leave a condolence

Email addresses will not be displayed on this site.

Call Now Button