Nature 40

Betty Ann (Jordan) Konopka

May 16, 1930 ~ February 8, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old

Betty Konopka Obituary

Betty Ann (Jordan) Konopka passed away peacefully Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, at Center for Hospice Care’s Ernestine M. Raclin House overlooking the St. Joseph River in Mishawaka. She was 93.

She had just moved to the bucolic setting on Monday from her home on Crumstown Highway, which was reminiscent of the farmhouse where she was born on May 16, 1930, to Wayne and Joy Jordan.

She grew up in Branch County, Mich., walking to a one-room schoolhouse in Kinderhook. Betty Ann completed high school in 1948 at James Whitcomb Riley High School in South Bend.

Konopka’s spacious yard dotted with flower and vegetable gardens offered some serenity while raising three daughters.

Betty Ann was a member and officer of the Michiana Rabbit Breeders Association and a Warren Township 4-H rabbit leader. Besides rabbits and poultry, they had horses and even a couple steers.

She was a tea drinker — no coffee — and bird spotter, reporting migrating juncos returning in the spring.

Long before the advent of birding phone apps, she excelled at identifying birds and knowing their calls.

Between having canaries when the family was young, to raising chickens and maintaining numerous bird feeders, “Grandma Chickens,” as she was known to her grandchildren, loved her feathered friends.

To dispel dreary, dead-of-winter days, she pored over seed catalogs, dreaming of spring rejuvenating the gardens where she grew any vegetable the family would eat, including carrots, radishes, onions, potatoes, corn, cucumbers, green beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, squash and pumpkins, as well as roses, peonies, gladiolus, irises and countless other annual and perennial flowers.

She was always cooking and baking — especially around the holidays when each family received a canister heaped with treats or, at Easter, lamb cakes.

Like the avians she admired, Betty Ann sang herself, whether in Glee Club or in the choir at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, where she belonged to the Rosary Sodality.

After high school, she earned a business certificate from the South Bend College of Commerce and worked in bookkeeping for the South Bend Tribune.

While working for South Bend Community School Corp., a co-worker, Matron of Honor Marian Jankowski, introduced her to Stanley R. Konopka when he began working for Marian’s husband at a Citgo gas station. Best man was Don Grabber of Buchanan when they married on April 21, 1956, at St. Jude Catholic Church in South Bend.

The Konopkas lived on Detroit Street when they were first married, buying their farm when their youngest daughter was 6.

The family made their two-week motorhome trip west in 1976 for the Bicentennial, accompanied by both grandmothers.

After she found her nest empty, Betty Ann embraced her artistic talent and studied oil painting, producing landscapes and scenes on seashells.

Her husband, 97, preceded her in death on April 4, 2023.

Surviving are: three daughters, Cheryl (Junior) Balderas of South Bend; Kathleen (Bill) Marek of Lydick; and Susan (John) Eby of Dowagiac, Mich.; 11 grandchildren, Jennifer Biggs of South Bend, Heather (Mark Miller) Salinas of South Bend, Kristie (Jose Juarez) Salinas of South Bend, Trisha Salinas of South Bend, Kevin (Kathy) Marek of South Bend, Matt (Courtney) Marek of South Bend, Mike (Brittany) Marek of South Bend, Danielle (Ryan) Schmidt of South Bend, Jordan (Candis) Eby of Portage, Mich., Savannah (Kyle) Walters of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Logan Eby of Dowagiac; and 20 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be Wednesday, February 14, 2024, from 3 to 8 p.m. with a rosary to begin at 4 p.m. at St. Joseph Funeral Home, 824 S. Mayflower Road South Bend, IN 46619.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, February 15, at 1 p.m. at St. Stanislaus Kostka, 55756 Tulip Road, New Carlisle, IN 46552. Burial at Jordan Cemetery, Fremont, IN will follow at a later date.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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February 14, 2024

3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Saint Joseph Funeral Home
824 S. Mayflower Road
South Bend, IN 46619

February 14, 2024

4:00 PM
Saint Joseph Funeral Home
824 S. Mayflower Road
South Bend, IN 46619

Mass of Christian Burial
February 15, 2024

1:00 PM
St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church


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