Born in Superior Township in 1923, Betty’s life encompassed an era of significant historical events and changes. After narrowly escaping a housefire caused by kerosene lamps in early childhood, her family moved to Jefferson Township where she spent her formative years on a farm still using draft horses. Immediately following the banking crisis of 1933, she started a bank account with the proceeds from selling a calf, an account which she kept open for 82 years and numerous changes of bank name and management. Following the repeal of prohibition, the first legal beer she saw was Pabst, which she continued to enjoy for the following 70 plus years.
She graduated from Montpelier High School in 1941, and after a brief stint working at an Ice Cream parlor in Defiance, Ohio, began working in a series of manufacturing jobs connected to war production, culminating in working for the ARO corporation as a machinist. During the war she began donating blood routinely, a habit she continued for over 50 years until the Red Cross, much to her displeasure, instituted a minimum 110 pound weight requirement.
Following World War II, in 1947, she married Howard Golding, a toolmaker at Winzeler Stamping, whom she had met prior to the war. Due to Howard’s tragic and disabling automobile accident in 1957, the young couple started a business together, Howard Golding Tool and Die in West Jefferson. She successfully balanced caring for her husband, working in the shop, and raising two young children. After Howard’s death in 1982, Betty would occasionally do the odd machining job as late as 2014, as well as actively managing her various farming operations.
Of her hobbies, she greatly enjoyed gardening of all sorts and maintained an enormous garden plot which she cultivated with a tractor weekly, and worked in daily. She took particular pride in yard care, either mowing or trimming most days in the summer, and for years secreted a canister of DDT in case of an insect infestation resistant to newer, more legal pesticides.
She was an accomplished outdoors-woman, notably enjoying hunting, bird watching, fishing and berry-picking. She had a lifelong interest in advocating eradication of the marmota monax. She was known for raising a series of nearly identical black Labradors, which led casual observers to think she had the same dog for over 25 years. She read voraciously, and kept up a significant mail correspondence.
She had a strong Lutheran faith, and was a member of the Zion Lutheran church for 80 years, which she attended with a diligence that belied the strength of her faith.
Of note, Betty was, by her own admission, a stubborn statistical outlier in matters of healthcare, managing to go from 1953 to 2006 without seeing a medical professional of any kind, despite a dietary regime that included nicotine and saturated fat in disproportionate levels. When forced to seek medical attention due to a yardwork accident in 2006, her physician promised her that he baked a cake for any patient that lived to 100. She responded that she had no interest whatsoever in living to 100. Her family and friends are saddened that she got her wish and avoided the cake, though the professional community of Northwest Ohio can now relax as she had repeatedly outlived a series of younger attorneys, bankers, and accountants.
Betty was proceeded in death by her parents William and Eva, her husband Howard, and her brothers Frederic and Charles. She is survived by her children: David (Karla) Golding of Montpelier, and Marylou Russell of Pelham, Alabama; her grandchildren: Bob Golding, Sharon Russell Mike (Jennifer) Russell, Melanie (Mareck) Driver, and Jonathon (Jamie) Russell; and eight great-grandchildren.
Donations may be made to Zion Lutheran Church. Online condolences can be left for the family at www.thethompsonfuneralhome.com.
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