Betty "Betts" Pulkrabek, age 82, of Tabor, South Dakota, died unexpectedly on Monday, October 2, 2017, at her home.
A memorial service will be 10:30 AM on Friday, October 13, 2017, at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with Merritt Pulkrabek officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the memorial service on Friday at the funeral home. A Funeral Mass will also be 10:30 AM on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Tabor with Father Steven Jones officiating.
Betty "Betts" Louise Pulkrabek, physical age 82 (mental age 32!), was born near Freeman, South Dakota, to John and Florence (Dangle) Weier. At the age of nine her father died, leaving her mother and three sisters alone during World War ll. At this time the family went to live with her maternal grandparents in Turkey Ridge. Betts and her sisters grew up helping on the family farm while going to school and working part time. Betts went to work at the age of 10 to help the family earn money to get by during this difficult time. Her first job was at the movie theater making popcorn and taking tickets. When she and her mother and sisters had saved up enough money, they purchased a small one bedroom home on Cedar Street in Yankton, where they all shared the one bedroom. She said some of her most memorable life moments occurred in that small house with her mom and three sisters.
Later, Betts was hired at Pacific Bell Telephone Company as a switchboard operator and shortly worked her way up to Lead Supervisor at the age of 24. She met Robert Pulkrabek a year later. He was so taken with her spunky attitude and outspoken ways that he told her he was going to marry her the very night they met. Six months later, they married. Betts and Robert built a small airplane together and flew around the country; owned and ran a gas station and a bar called Tommy T's in Yankton and a Nursing Home in Iowa.
In 1961, they moved to San Diego California where they lived owned and operated a house painting business for 34 years while raising their 4 children. Betty was uniquely suited for running business, as well as, different groups as she loved to juggle and coordinate multiple people and events at once. In 1995 she retired and moved to the Tabor/Yankton area where she became involved in Master Gardener's Association, Yankton Town and Country Garden Club as President multiple years, Yankton Friends of the Library, Yankton Book Club, 2 different Red Hat Groups, (because one just wasn't enough) and the Yankton Area Concert Association, where she has been the Membership Chair for several years and was previously on the Board of Directors.
During this time she also worked in Tabor helping with multiple Fundraisers and Church Bazaars as well as Czech Days Celebrations; started a "Children's Rewards For Reading" program and most recently had built and was in the process of installing several "Little Free Libraries" at various small towns in the Bon Homme County area. In her spare time she caught and had stray animals spayed and neutered.
Betts loved to instigate and motivate. Her average day was a constant state of chaos and energy. She LOVED people and thrived on sharing her passions and ideas with others. She truly had an all-encompassing joy for life and all things living.
Survivors include three children: Gail Pulkrabek and her husband Charles Cheek of San Diego, California; John "Jack" Pulkrabek of Scotland, South Dakota; and Carol Pulkrabek and her husband Joel Vermuele of Yankton, South Dakota; two sisters: Gloria Weier of Los Angeles, California and Joanie (Dave) Arp of Omaha, Nebraska.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert; son, Todd; and sister, Margie Haas.
Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.
My deepest sympathy to the family. She was a sweetheart. I got to know her when she had classes at the library. I will also miss all the trees she had decorated for Christmas, that was awesome!
It saddens my heart, mom, as she was to me, that I won't be able to laugh with her, or hear her interesting stories, or take anymore road trips with her. She was an amazing lady, & I will miss her dearly. God has taken your hand, to a better place...tell Todd I will always hold a special place in my heart for him. He was a wonderful husband, & I was blessed to have him in my life, as well as I was blessed to have you in my life. May you rest in peace, & heal the families broken hearts. You left us with such fond memories. You will always be loved. My heart goes out to all family members. I love you.
I befriended Betts when she was a patient at St. Michael's Hospital Avera many years ago when I worked there. We had a lot of wonderful things in common too. Whenever we would bump into each other at various events/stores around the Yankton area, she always had a big smile for me and always gave me a hug. She had a beautiful spirit and was so kind. I will miss her dearly.
Amy S. Petrik
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