Betty Marion Bradas
Born on May 2nd, 1931 and named originally as "Liona Belle Rigsby'' in Bowling Green, Kentucky to Walter and Pearl Rigsby. From a poor family of 12 children, she was removed from the home along with her siblings and placed in an orphanage. Liona Bell won the hearts of Pason and Elizabeth Ryan with her bright blue eyes and outstretched arms. The family lived in Louisville, Kentucky for a time before moving to a beautiful apartment overlooking the ocean in New York. Pason and Elizabeth unfortunately divorced after 5 years and Liona Bell moved back to Louisville, Kentucky with her mother. They stayed with Elizabeth's mother, Mrs. Swincher, who faithfully took little Liona Bell to church three or four times a week and read to her from the Bible each night. Elizabeth suffered from alco_holism, so when the elderly Mrs. Swincher's health began to fail, Elizabeth's sister and brother-in-law, Archie and Iva Bradas took over care of Liona Bell. They officially adopted her and she was renamed 'Betty Marion Badas'. Archie bought Betty a baby grand piano which she learned and played skillfully throughout her lifetime.
Alcohol also broke this family eventually and Archie remarried, taking Betty with them.
As a young woman, Betty began working at the U.S.O. singing and playing music for the soldiers. It was there that she met Herb, the love of her life. He had charmed her into breaking a date the same night she was supposed to go out with another soldier; and from there began a world-wind romance. Two months later, on January 12th, 1950, she became Mrs. Herb W. Ecklund. Love carried them through meager beginnings and they were blessed with their first son in November. She and Herb moved in with his parents, Ernest and Martha Ecklund, in Williamston, Michigan after his discharge from the Air Force.
The family grew quickly until Betty and Herb's hearts were full with six precious children and a home. At age 28, Betty gave her heart to Jesus. She and her husband committed their children to the Lord and their involvement in their church family and friends enriched their lives.
In 1977, she was blessed to be reunited with her birth family and was able to get to know her brother and sisters.
As years passed, family celebrations were always important and elaborate. She decorated, cooked, planned and purchased; filling her home with joy and laughter of family. Evenings often ended with her family joining her in song around the piano.
In 1975, Herb and Betty (along with most of the family) moved to the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex. Betty worked assisting Herb with sales in which they were highly successful, winning trips that took them to many beautiful destinations.
Though the children grew to adulthood, Betty kept their pet names (to their occasional embarrassment) and still gave them 'the look', correcting with guidance as she saw fit. She kept everyone busy with gardening, home repairs and upgrades to keep her home in perfect order. When the work was done, she loved playing games of Rummicube, Scattergories and cards.
Herb, the love of her life, passed away on August 30th, 2015 from Alzheimer's disease. She tenderly cared for him in those difficult last days as she always had, with the help of her daughter Judy.
She kept her love of family, flowers and music right up until her death. United in joyful reunion with her Lord, husband, family and friends, she is joined now with the songs and music of heaven on March 26th, 2021.
She is survived by her six children: Mike Ecklund with wife Kim of Terrell, Texas: Judy Rowe-Colbath of Terrell, Texas: Steven Ecklund of Cleburne, Texas: Debra Shattuck with husband Denny of Belding, Michigan; Rick Ecklund of Terrell, Texas: Amy Marks with husband Wesley of Forney, Texas: Twenty grandchildren, fifty one great grandchildren and twelve great-great grandchildren.