CARBONDALE — Josephine Elizabeth “Betty” Renzaglia passed away with grace and dignity in her home surrounded by her family May 12, 2018.
Betty was born in LaPorte, Saskatchewan, Canada on June 22, 1921, to Arnold Michael and Adella Anna Guidinger. She had two older brothers, Conrad and Ambrose, and was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, and husband, Guy, of almost 63 years.
Betty grew up on a large wheat farm in Saskatchewan and rode a pony to a one-room schoolhouse (at times the only student in her grade). When she was 14, she went away to boarding school to complete high school. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan in 1944, she completed an internship in dietetics at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and then worked as a dietitian at Minneapolis General Hospital. She was very proud of her work as a dietitian and loved living in Minneapolis. She met Guy Renzaglia while there, and they were married in January 1948.
Betty and Guy moved five times before settling in Carbondale in 1955. With each move, a child was added to their family, with the last three born in Carbondale. Betty created a loving, safe home to raise her seven children, while Guy worked as a professor at SIU.
Betty and Guy had four sons, Gary (Sandy), Paul (Katrina), Mark (Sandy) and Dan (Debbie); and three daughters, Adelle (Jim), Karen (Wayne) and Mary Jo (Jim). They were the light of Betty’s life as were her 18 grandchildren, Julia, Lindsay, Lauren, Ryan, Elissa, Rhiana, Kara, Anna, Miguel, Andres, Sam, Paul, Liz, Joey, Catherine, Alec, Jack and Carlee; and six great-grandchildren, Rylan, Ellis, Morgan, John, Kaya and Kane. Betty was most happy when she was with her family.
Betty was the matriarch behind the formation of Alto Vineyards, the family winery, and together with her husband Guy, was instrumental in starting the wine and grape industry in Southern Illinois. She also found much fulfillment after her children were grown through volunteer work in Carbondale. She contributed for years delivering Meals-On-Wheels and volunteering at the Memorial Hospital, SIU Museum and St Francis Xavier Church. The church was her community and strength.
Betty loved to travel and had the opportunity to visit a number of countries. In addition to travels to see her children who were scattered around the world, she cherished visits back home to Canada. Even after spending most of her life in the U.S., she thought of Canada as her home. She was very proud of her Canadian family, including many nieces, nephews and their families.
Betty was a kind, gentle, selfless and generous woman. She saw the beauty in the world, each day remarking about how every living thing was extraordinary in its own way. She brought joy and deep affection to all those around her, and she will live forever within the hearts of those fortunate to know and love her.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 17, in Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home.
Services for Betty Renzaglia will be at 10 a.m. Friday, May 18, in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Carbondale, with Father Robert Flannery officiating. Entombment will follow in Pleasant Grove Memorial Park Mausoleum.
A luncheon will follow the committal and will be in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. After gatherings at the church, please join the family and friends at Alto Vineyards to celebrate a wonderful life.
Betty’s memory can be honored with donations in her name to St Francis Xavier Church.
To view the full obituary or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.crainsonline.com.