Betty Perkins


In 1918, World War I came to an end, the” Spanish Flu” began, and Elizabeth (Betty) Jane Ovrom was born at home in Gary, South Dakota on August 24, 1918.  Over a century later (2020), she lived through a second pandemic.   She departed this life peacefully on September 14, 2023 at the age of 105.  

Betty was the first of three children born to Fred and Blanche (Thompson) Ovrom.  She and her siblings, Evelyn (“Trink”) Manning (John) and Arthur (“Art”) Ovrom (Mary), were close throughout their lives.  As with most people, the depression times were tough for the Ovrom family.  This precipitated a move to Keosauqua in 1936, during Betty’s first year in college at Dakota Wesleyan University.  Homesick for her family, she transferred to Parsons College, where she majored in business.  The friendships formed at Parsons were lifelong with many reunions of the group held in the Keosauqua area.

After graduation, while working at her father’s bank, she met her future husband, Charles (“Dick”) Richard Perkins, son of Clem and Lucinda Miller Perkins. They married in Reno, Nevada May 8, 1943.  While husband Dick was in the Navy in World War II, Betty was in Keosauqua raising their first child, Fred.  After Dick returned from his military duty, Janie, Judy and Dick quickly arrived.  Four children in 5 years!!  Betty was a great supporter and role model for her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.  She was also a great supporter of her husband and his dental practice and farming operation. She loved accompanying Dick on his afternoon trips to the farm.

Music played a major role in Betty’s life.  She performed in many of the Van Buren Player’s musicals.  She claims her swan song was Grandma Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof”.  Betty also led the choir at the Congregational Church from the time her children were small until she was 90, when she conducted the choir at the annual Christmas Eve Service.  A huge part of her life was singing in her trio. 

Betty loved her life in Keosauqua.  In addition to her musical life and family life, she was one of the founders of the Friday Afternoon Bridge Club.  She also loved her 80-year membership with PEO.  The Congregational Church and her faith were integral to her life.  She was a strong supporter of the library, the state park, and the Van Buren Trails.

Betty is survived by her children Jane (Bob) Beach, Judy P. Strauss, Richard A. (Nancy) Perkins, 11 grandchildren (Sara, Hannah, Jennie, Will; Abby, Jackie, Elly; Adam, Laurel, Maureen, Luke), 21 great grandchildren, her sister-in-law, Dotty Perkins Grissom of California, many nieces and nephews, and her loving caretakers and friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband Charles Richard “Dick” Perkins, her son Fred Clem Perkins, her parents, her sister and brother and their spouses, her sister-in-law Evelyn Rizk and husband Al, and brother-in-law Ed Grissom.

Funeral services will be held on Monday September 18, 2023, at the Keosauqua Congregational Church with the Reverend Hal Schnedler officiating.  Visitation will be at 10:00 AM followed at 11:00 with the Service.  Burial will be at Purdom Cemetery, Keosauqua.  Memorials to Keosauqua Congregational Church, the Keosauqua Public Library, the Ferguson Sports Complex, or a charity of your choice may be left at the church or mailed to the family at 29 Acorn Court, Iowa City, IA 52246.  Friends may leave online condolences and view the livestream of the service at

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