On Friday, July 7, 2023, God quietly welcomed His child Betty Burns O’Neal into heaven to spend eternity.
Betty Lou Burns was born June 17, 1932 in Columbus, Indiana. One of seven children (Alice, Ruth, Katie, Sue, Raleigh-Ray, and Joe), Betty grew up helping her parents, Ray and Fern Burns, tend to the gardens and livestock on the family’s 80-acre farm. Her childhood was filled with fond memories of swimming in the creeks and playing in the haymows with her siblings which led her to proudly labeling herself as a ‘farm girl’.
Betty was a devout Christian who attended church regularly her entire life. She would find the church and Lord changed her life in more ways than one when, at the age of 14, her childhood friend Wayne O’Neal boldly told her “I’m going to marry you one day” to which Betty replied, “I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last man on earth”. But Wayne would prove persistent and pursued Betty, anyway, writing love letters and poems to the girl of his dreams which included romantic lines, like “”. Seven years later, on September 15, 1950, his persistence paid off and Betty said “I Do” to the man she’d love for the rest of her life. Wayne and Betty O’Neal would weather 58-years together before his death on August 16, 2009.
Four years after their nuptials, the couple relocated to Central Florida where they would raise their 3 surviving children (Vicki Lou, Teresa Louise, Jeffrey Wayne) and endured the loss of two daughters at a young age together (Sheryl Ann and Peggy Lea). Despite her losses, Betty’s love and faithfulness to God remained. She was a Sunday School teacher for the little ones for over 30 years and faithful to tithe and help fund mission trips. She was known as a prayer warrior who sent cards and words of encouragement to anyone she knew was sick or experiencing difficult times.
In 1973, God granted Wayne and Betty the friendship of a lifetime when He brought David and Cindi Ruehl into their lives. The Ruehl’s were faithful friends to the O’Neal’s through all the trials and tribulations of life and their love for “Aunt Betty” remained ever present right up to her final day on earth.
Betty and Wayne’s family continued to grow with the addition of their 5 grandchildren (Darrell Fine, Brandon Fine, Michael Fine, Josh Engelkens, and Peggy Robles). Betty remained the heart of her family, hosting family fish fries and serving up homemade birthday cakes to her loved ones. Thanksgiving and Christmas at Granny and Pap-Paw’s became the family tradition and memories revolve around Betty’s homemade mashed potatoes and noodles and reading Luke 2 before opening presents together as a family.
Betty was an avid gardener and a lover of redbirds, lighthouses, and monarch butterflies. She was also a woman of many talents which included sewing, playing piano, watercolor painting, and much more. She was loving and faithful to both her family and God. Beloved by all who knew her and whose presence will be missed by all of us.
Betty also leaves behind 9 great grandchildren (Adrianna, Mark, Harley, Emma, Emily, David, Gage, Cheyenne, and Dominique) and 2 great great grandchildren.