Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Elizabeth “Betty Ellen” Courtenay Voss lived her life this way, until she peacefully and joyfully joined her Lord on May 2, 2023 at home surrounded by her family.

Betty Ellen was born on Dec. 12, 1930 to Eleanor (nee Matheson) and Thomas Courtenay in Chicago. She grew up in Bensenville, Illinois along with her three younger sisters, Patricia, Edith and Carole, whom she loved dearly. Over the years they enjoyed annual sisters’ week travels to see lighthouses, have picnics, and play games. She was a voracious reader and loved numbers and interesting dates, so was excited and fortunate to celebrate her 82nd birthday on 12/12/12!

On June 16, 1952 she graduated from Northwestern University – Evanston Hospital School of Nursing. She was an angel in caring for people as a nurse as well as in her private life. Always up for an adventure, she and her sister Pat packed up the car after graduation and moved to Connecticut, where she worked in private practice and then as a visiting nurse. In New London, Connecticut, she began attending The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer and was enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn and ask questions. She was confirmed on March 6, 1955. While singing in the choir, Betty met Frank Voss, who was stationed on a submarine at the nearby Naval Base.

They were married on Sept. 1, 1956 and made beautiful music together for 63 years. They moved to Brown’s Lake in Burlington and raised their four children. Betty Ellen was a nurse at the Burlington Clinic. She was an ever-present mother shuttling kids to sporting events in a station wagon filled with giggling grade-schoolers or sewing amazing dresses for Christmas, prom, or weddings and later supported the operations of their two businesses – Voss Construction and Courtyard Cabinetry. Life at the lake was filled with entertaining family and friends, sailing, swimming and ice-skating escapades.

Her light shone brightly, like the lighthouses she collected, reflecting God’s love to all who knew her. A member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burlington, Betty Ellen was active in the Choir and Women’s Missions. In later years, she and Frank traveled the country with Builders for Christ and gained a whole new set of friends and experiences.

Joy was her theme and her gift. Betty Ellen loved to travel and instilled in her family respect for America the Beautiful. She loved to play games with her sisters, nieces, nephews, kids and grandkids. Usually Aunt Betty helped all teams and was still winning at Pinochle at the age of 92. Betty Ellen was above all, a devout Christian and the bedrock of her family. Her faith lives on through all of them.

She was preceded in death by her husband Frank, and her sisters Edith Ludlam and Carole Schrade.

Betty Ellen is survived by her sister Patricia Abate; brother-in-law Leonard Schrade; her loving children Kathy Szmanda, Jonathan (Charissa Brudnak) Voss, Leslee (David) Geltzer and Renee (Chris) Sang, many grandchildren, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends, and her two great grandchildren Aurora and Rex. She always told them, and demonstrated in her life, that “the Lord holds you in the palm of his hand.” Isaiah 40:31

Memorial suggested to St. John’s Lutheran Church and School

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 11 at 5 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 198 Westridge Avenue, Burlington. Relatives and friends may visit with the family prior to the service from 2 until 4:30 p.m. Private burial will take place in Burlington Cemetery.

Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home is serving the family. Well-wishers may visit

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