Betty Belle Matis Packard, 88, of Springville, Utah, died peacefully in sleep on Monday, February 5, 2018, surrounded by her family. She passed due to incidents of age.
Betty was born December 28, 1929, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Vera McCabe Matis and Henry A. Matis. Being born to an Irish mother and a Finnish father, she was a stunning combination of grit, passion and quiet stoicism. With her mother’s early passing, she was raised by Mae Pace Matis as a true daughter. She was the oldest of four younger brothers. As a child she was always imbued with the spirit of fun, competition and adventure.
As an active and physically talented youth, she was a championship ballroom and swing dancer who volunteered her time to help the LDS soldiers enjoy their leaves before being shipped overseas. Always spiritually dedicated, she was the only Mormon in her large Chicago high school, a position that gave her unique opportunities as a cheerleader to share her gospel standards by example.
During Betty’s first week at BYU at 17 years of age, her spirit of curiosity and adventure led her to the front room of her dorm as piano music filled the hall. Showing off at the piano sat a handsome young Springville boy named F. Calvin Packard. Her big city heart melted and his country heart leaped, and their unparalleled love story began. They became eternal sweethearts, in the Manti Temple, on August 8th, 1950.
Betty was the quintessential lifelong learner. She was brilliant in mind and quick as a whip. She excelled at math and loved the study of history. She was constantly enrolled in courses and classes challenging her mind and stretching her horizons. She was a master seamstress, an excellent cook and a devoted mother and wife. In her later years she was enthralled with family history work, and she found thousands of relatives. She worked diligently as an arbitrator doing final quality checks of indexing, teaching herself ancient scripts and languages, including Finnish and Old English.
Betty had a simple but elegant spirit of grace. She dedicated her life to the support of her husband and care of her family. She served in many church callings great and small, counting them all equal before the Lord. She had a strong and abiding gift of faith—it was like breathing to her. She traveled extensively with her husband to the far-flung reaches of the Earth and loved learning about new cultures and people.
Betty had a unique gift of pure caring that was manifested to every person that came to know her. Whether she was helping or being helped, the people around her knew she genuinely loved them. She made everyone of them true favorites. She was most satisfied and content when surrounded by her children and grandchildren. They were the source of her greatest happiness. She had the ability to really listen—equally well to the oldest and the youngest—and relate unerringly. Her advice was always simple and profound. Her endurance and “never complain” attitude in the face of incredible adversity stands as an example of Finnish sisu to her beloved posterity. Her love, laughter and radiant smile will be missed by all her family, but her reunion is joyous as she begins a new journey with the mother she barely remembered and the son she had barely met. Our separation from her is but a moment.
Betty Belle was preceded in death by her infant son Bruce Calvin Packard; her parents Henry A. Matis, Vera McCabe Matis and Mae Pace Matis; and her brother Fred (Marilyn) Matis. She is survived by her husband and soul mate of 67 years, F. Calvin Packard; her children Gail (David) Olsen, Matt (Louann) Packard, Laura (Samuel) Savage, Karen (Gregg) Smith, and Mark (Wendy) Packard; brothers John (Nadine) Matis, James (Jenette) Matis, and Bruce (Joan) Matis; 20 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren, all who absolutely adore her.
A viewing will be Friday Feb. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wheeler Mortuary in Springville. Funeral services will be held at the LDS Chapel at 355 E. Center Street in Springville on Feb.10th at 11 a.m.; condolences may also be offered to family prior to funeral from 9:30 to 10:30. Burial will follow at the Springville Evergreen Cemetery.