Betty Jo Kleinman Corbridge Webb
Contributor: comstock Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
A beautiful baby girl was born to Joseph Kleinman and Horesa Lillywhite Kleinman a little less than one year after their marriage on August 6, 1930. Her doctor was B. C. Tarbell and nurse was Mrs. Douglas. The young parents had hoped for a little girl and were delighted by the healthy 8 lb, 21 inch baby. Joseph had vowed not to brag about their baby but soon forgot about his vow. Betty was a sleepy baby
but soon charmed all around her. She was blessed and named by her father on September 7, had her first picture taken with her mother dressed like the Madonna on that day. Both grandmas were also present on that day.
Betty soon began to progress through all the normal baby milestones. She smiled at 5 days and sat by 4 months. At her first Christmas, she was too young to notice gifts but loved the excitement and attention from relatives. She began to walk quite early but then discovered how fun crawling was and did not walk again for some time. Her first words were at nine months
Betty’s first pet was a cute little dog named Clara Bow after the popular actress. The dog soon had four puppies also much loved by Betty Jo. They were all given away except one that she named Peep which she would jabber to. At 6 months Betty got her first tooth. She soon became fascinated with toothbrushes so her parents bought one for her and she promptly used it on her puppy’s teeth.
Her first birthday was celebrated with a cake, a little stuffed doggie and a new tooth. One day she decided her new toy was cold so she put it in the oven to warm. It did get quite warm and crispy. For her second Christmas, she got a little chair, several dolls, and other toys. She would try to hold all her toys at once. It was a very happy day.
Horesa and Joe would ask Betty if she would like a baby brother and she would say yes and tell them all about her little brother. One morning they surprised her by bringing her to see her new little brother. She stayed by the bed watching over him all day and notifying the nurse every time he cried. She soon discovered that babies are not much fun and left to play with her puppy. Betty was sure that Santa brought her brother to her and before long, they had become great buddies.
Betty loved her Bampy (blanket) and needed it to sleep no matter how hot it was. Sugar was susie, handkerchief was hanya, and bacon was icky even though she loved it. Her parents had so much fun listening to her that they called her their little Dutchy girl but she would say “Oh I’s dis a kid.”
At 22 months Betty went into her first Sunday School class and at 2 years she could say the blessing on the food. She also began to pay tithing very early. At 2 years the family went on a trip to Mesa. Betty took her precious little dog with her and during a stop for lunch near Tucson, the puppy was hit by a car. Her parents carefully helped her avoid seeing what happened and so she made up a story and said “Oh Peep gone way ors git a wabbit kin” as in Bye Baby Bunting.
At 4 years, Betty scribbled her first letter to Santa, had her first birthday party with friends and cousins and made a big trip to Salt Lake for conference. On the way she met a hungry deer at Grand Canyon
who invited himself inside our cabin for lunch. At Bryce Canyon, a little chipmunk followed us around. Perhaps this began her lifelong love of animals. As an adult she became the rescuer of many cats, dogs and desert tortoises.
Also at age 4 she began to develop her talent and love of music. She led the singing for the Sunday meeting of the small branch where they lived. Throughout her life, she was known for her beautiful singing voice and longed to be part of the Tabernacle Choir.
At age five, Betty Jo had a very quirky way of viewing the world. The fruit trees in bloom were “all hatched out.” The worm in the cocoon was a “bug seed.” She wished the moon had a long string attached so she could turn it on whenever she wanted. She had a great desire to see Heavenly Father so she wished for an accident to happen outside. She mourned the loss of her Grandmother Lillywhite until she was reassured that someday she could see her again. Sometime later her Aunt Verda told her about resurrection. Betty told her aunt that she hoped that would happen soon so grandma could be there in time for Christmas. She also had a great desire to see Santa and his reindeer. She liked to play jokes and was delighted to play a joke of her own creation on April Fool’s Day. She put a frying pan on top of the casserole dish instead of the lid and passed her daddy a note saying “April Fool.” Her mother recorded many other charming things Betty would say. I am sure her parents thought her adorable, smart and funny.
At age five years and 7 months a new baby was added to the family. Betty loved that baby but unfortunately it was discovered that she and Wayne had whooping cough. Mother went to Mesa to keep the new baby safe. Immediately after recovering from Whooping cough they had measles. Betty recovered well but Wayne fought every bout of coughing. Wayne remembers battling the disease trying to hold in the coughing and running away from the Dr., when it was time for their shots while Betty quietly submitted to the shots and to the coughing.
Betty was baptized by a missionary from the California mission in the Tucson chapel baptismal font. Her parents were so proud. She bore her testimony the first time when she was nine. She also baked her first “from scratch” cake at nine. At 9 ½ she quit violin lessons as her parents did not feel she was progressing but began piano lessons instead. She did do well on the piano.
The family moved to El Paso June 1940. Betty hated to leave her friends in Nogales but soon made new friends in the ward and at Crockett School. For her tenth birthday she had a party with her new friends. When Betty was ten she went to her first formal Primary sponsored dance with her brother Wayne as her escort. The family was also blessed with another little boy shortly after Betty’s birthday, Aug. 30, 1940. She mothered her new little brother. Also at age ten, the family traveled to Mesa where Betty Jo and Wayne got to be baptized for the dead in the temple. They also received Patriarchal blessings at that time. Afterward they traveled through some of the parks in Northern Arizona such as the Petrified Forest and Montezuma’s Well.
Betty graduated from Primary, Crockett Elementary and went to Austin Jr. High School. Betty blossomed into a beautiful and responsible young woman. Upon entering High School, Betty joined the band which she loved. She had also been hoping for a little sister thru the birth of three brothers. Her
prayer was answered in 1945 with a dainty little red-headed sister named Karen. Betty took over the running of the household during the time Horesa was in the hospital. She showed herself to be a wonderful mother even then. During high school, Betty had a friend named Helen Scanlon who remained her friend all the years she was in El Paso.
Betty was so excited to move on to the Gleaner program and graduate from high school. By 1948 Betty had met the man she would marry at an M-Men and Gleaner party. They dated until he went home for Christmas on a furlough. His name was Devon Corbridge from Lovell Wyoming. He came back in time to spend New Year’s Eve with Betty and proposed at that time. He had left the ring at home so gave her his seminary pin which she proudly wore for two weeks until the ring arrived. Two months later Betty was made queen of the Gold and Green Ball. She looked beautiful and little sister, Karen, was dressed in a green dress as the flower girl. Devon proudly stood by her side.
Betty and Dave (Devon) decided they would be married in May instead of waiting until August. They were married and sealed in the Mesa Temple May 24. There was a reception in El Paso followed by a honeymoon that included visits to a number of National Parks through Arizona and Utah and visits to the Salt Lake, Logan and Idaho Falls Temples. They returned to El Paso and then to Lovell where they lived until Dave was called out of the reserves to go to Korea. Betty returned to El Paso where she could be near family for the birth of their baby. He did not get to see the baby until two weeks after the birth. Shelly had dark curly hair at birth but it soon fell out and came in blonde and straight. Dave left for Korea February 4 and did not return until December 4. No one knows the terrible burdens and sins that war brings but Betty looked forward to a happy reunion and Shelly began to get acquainted with her father. A home was purchased but it was not long before deep rifts began in the marriage. Dave had developed some terrible habits while in Korea that did not cease after his return home. It seemed that Betty was the last to know while whispers and gossip surrounded them. Finally advice was sought from church authorities about what to do, and she was advised to seek a temple divorce. I am sure that Betty felt shamed and terribly hurt not only by what Dave had done but by the gossip and lack of sympathy that surrounded her. Eventually the gossip died down and Dave left the country. He would send occasional extravagant birthday or Christmas gifts to Shelly but really made no other effort to help out financially.
Betty went on with determination and great effort. She continued to provide care and support for herself and daughter, Shelly. Grandma Kleinman watched Shelly each day while Betty worked so Shelly and Sue grew up together. They were, after all, only 7 months apart.
After some years, Betty met and married Winsol Glen Webb. Shelly was delighted to have a daddy and Betty was glad to have someone who cared about her and wanted to share her burden. Three other children soon followed. Cary Lee looked very much like his father and weighed in at a hefty 10 lbs. Tracy Lynn was a blonde version of her mother, and Lesley Ann was a combination of both. Cary was born Jan 19, 1957, Tracy June 1, 1958 and Lesley May 9, 1960. Attempts were made to interest Glen in the church but he always said he was not interested. He worked hard at the oil refineries in El Paso. After some years he also developed some bad habits that made their marriage very difficult and finances short. When Betty developed cancer, he had a big argument with her Dad about who would pay for the mounting medical bills. Cancer treatments were quite primitive then and Betty was given some type of mustard treatments and a complete hysterectomy. I am sure this ordeal added to the troubles in their marriage which ended shortly after. I believe that was in 1963.
Betty continued to struggle on alone vowing to never allow her children to be hurt again. She would make great efforts to make their lives as normal and happy as she could. She would sacrifice her time and money to provide little bits of luxury such as a once a month visit to a local restaurant where the kids could pick out their favorite dish from the menu. Grandpa and Grandma would laugh because it was usually macaroni and cheese. Eventually about the time Shelly graduated from high school, Betty moved near her parents and BYU where Shelly would attend college and Betty would work for the BYU library. Larry remembers helping to pack belongings and pets for the move across the street from Mom and Dad Kleinman. This made it easier for Dad Kleinman to help out as needed and provided a small income for the family. Because Betty worked for BYU, Shelly was also able to get a part-time job there and her income also helped the rest of the family. Each of the children was encouraged to get jobs when they were old enough to help in the purchase of such things as their own clothing and entertainment. They learned the habits of thrift and hard work early in their lives.
Betty continued to live in that home until she passed away at age 54. She was plagued with frequent strep throats and colds and a few years before her death she had severe complications which resulted in kidney failure. Her last few years were an ordeal of dialysis treatments 3 times a week, a struggle to lose weight and repeated surgeries to replace sites for the dialysis. Karen remembered a 5 inch wound in her back after the diagnosis that Mom would go over and dress every day. She also had several heart attacks. The last attack resulted from a clot that developed in the newly made anastamosis site and went to her heart. She had always vowed to mother her children until they were able to care for themselves. By 1984, they were all grown and married and beginning to have families of their own. This she did do without thought for her own comfort or pleasure. She never dated again although she had many friends
but instead devoted her life to her children. Heavenly Father allowed her to fulfill her goal.
The following pages relate memories of her from family members:
Tracy: When I think about my favorite memories growing up, they are a direct result of an amazing woman who tried hard to love her children and raised them single-handed. A single mother’s income was seldom sufficient to care for a family but she tried hard to give her children a normal childhood.
Christmas was an especially magical time filled with traditions, baking and thoughts of Santa. We believed in Santa longer than was normal because we knew that she did not have the means to purchase and wrap all those gifts under the tree. Even after we knew that Santa was not real, we did not let our Mom know because we did not want to spoil any of the traditions and excitement of the season. Our home was a wonderland of Christmas art from the windows that she would paint to the pine branches on the shelves. She was creative in using old Christmas cards to decorate and waited to give needed items such as socks and pajamas until Christmas to add to the grandeur of the day.
Other treasured experiences were our family vacations. Most often it was camping in a tent. I realized as an adult, that camping in a tent was a pretty miserable experience with the hard lumpy ground, the bugs, the strange noises, and the dirt. Mom braved it all to give us wonderful memories and fun times.
When we were little and had bad colds, she would turn our living room or bedroom into magical camping tents complete with humidifiers and stories to help us get well. She did all these things because she loved us and wanted to give us the best that she could.
Eileen and Cary: Betty had a trying life but did a wonderful job raising her kids alone. She was a good example in all she did and I feel sad that her grandchildren did not get to know her. Our Casey was only 2 ½ when she passed away much too young. I remember her going to dialysis 3 times a week and taking work to do while she was there from her job at BYU. She raised a good son who now is a great father and grandpa. Cary remembers eating lettuce without dressing because they were too poor to buy both and remembers going without lunch because there was no money to buy school lunch. He also remembers her being a great cook and I try to make her special carrot cake each Christmas because it
reminds him of the fun times they had. Even though they were poor, they would make extra carrot cake to give as gifts to neighbors and friends. We would always give her a new outfit each Christmas so she would wait to dress for the day until we came. Cary wanted to play football in high school but had to get a job to help pay bills. They learned to sacrifice for family.
She had a beautiful voice and would have loved to sing in the Tabernacle Choir. She was a deeply spiritual person and raised all of her children in the gospel.
I had a dream once, after her death that she came and held a cute little red-head girl in her arms. I hoped that my second child would be that little girl. So far, that little girl still has not come into our family. Maybe one day! I do know that she was a wonderful lady and continues to be missed in our family.
Karl Kleinman: Most years Uncle Joe and Aunt Horesa would come to our house in Mesa for a few days to pick and can figs and apricots from our trees. For the kids it was a fun time to play together and “camp” outdoors. As a child, I spent most of the time with Wayne because he was a boy, but Betty Jo was always right there with us in the fun. As teenagers we even had a few movie “dates” together as she was only two years younger than I. I wish now that I had been able to know her better and look forward to becoming reacquainted with her in the next life.
Lesley: I remember how special she made Christmas. We found out years later that she would take out a loan for Christmas each year and then pay on it throughout the next year. She would take time off so she could spend the holiday with us and we would bake and play games all day.
She loved to hear about my dates and we would often talk for an hour after I came home. She was interested in everything we did. She worked so hard for me when I married. I know she was there cleaning long after we left. When Grandma got cancer, she would often take over little gifts such as flowers, notes or food to cheer her up. She continued this long after the cancer was gone and she usually did this anonymously.
One of my favorite things about her was her singing. She had a beautiful voice and I still cry when we sing “O My Father”. Each time I hear that song I can hear her voice singing it.
She was a great Mom and Dad to her children. We were her whole world and I feel sad that my own children never got to know their grandmother.
Karen Lentz: Betty Jo was my big sister that I adored and would pester until she would allow me to sleep with her. She would get upset with me when I fell out of bed and would cry in the night. When I was a teenager, I admired her piano playing especially the song Argonaise. I never imagined being able to play as well as her. I did eventually learn to play well including Argonaise but none of us could ever match her singing voice.
Later when I was dating my husband we would pack every one up in two cars and go to the drive-in movie. We would put all the kids to sleep in one car and eat our popcorn in the other. We would spend hours talking about our childhood, dating and many other things. When we would come to Orem to
visit she would take me to some unique little store she had found. Sometimes she might splurge on a small piece of candy knowing that she had dialysis the next morning.
Christmas was her favorite holiday and she would always spend great efforts to make it magical for her kids. Her one treat for herself was a big box of chocolates. One year the dogs found it and were sick all over the house. Still she expected so little for herself and tried to do as much as possible for her kids.
Despite all the difficulties she had in her life, she always tried to do what Christ expected of her. She stayed close to the church and raised her children in the gospel. She did serve in the grandest of all callings that of Mother. She never complained about all her heartaches but strived to be both parents for her children.
Larry Kleinman: I remember serving her several times during many difficult periods in her life. I remember how much she loved her kids and how much she loved animals. She was certainly challenged with many problems during her life and hope she has peace now.
Wayne Kleinman: Betty Jo was my companion and friend as a small child. She always seemed to handle situations such as chigger bites and whooping cough shots with more grace than I did, calmly accepting what had to be. She always had many friends in Arizona and I am sure the move to El Paso was hard. Two special friends were Mrs. Kirk and Grandmother Lillywhite. Many hours of storytelling were spent at the feet of her grandmother. Betty was quite sad when she passed away and was comforted by the teaching about resurrection given to her by her Aunt Verda. There was a cave behind our house we used to play in and a horse that we both loved to ride. She will always be the big sister I look up to.
Sue Dickson: Betty was grown and gone by the time that I was born. Her oldest child, Shelly, was just 7 months younger than I. I thought she was beautiful and tall especially with her high heels. I never remember her complaining or feeling sorry for herself despite the many hurts she must have had. I still can hear, in my mind, her singing songs such as “Oh My Father” or “Jerusalem”. Her voice was rich and deep while mine has always sounded like a child’s voice.
I remember that last time I visited with her. She was just out of the hospital so I did not dare bring the children with me as they had chicken pox. She was upbeat but admitted that for the first time she was considering a kidney transplant, as she had only one more shunt site to use. We returned home to Washington and had barely walked in the door when the phone rang saying she had passed away from a blood clot that went to her heart and caused a heart attack. I feel as if I never really got to know her and am looking forward to the time when that will happen.
One more thing that was special to me was a visit from her a number of years later just before Hal passed away. It was very short as though she just peeked in to say hello and to let me know that Hal needed to be allowed to go home and stop suffering. Once more she was young, slim, and beautiful. I told Hal that it was okay if he went home and that Betty Jo and Mom were waiting for him. Tears streamed down his face and you could see he was so very tired of fighting the cancer. I hope Betty Jo will continue to be a guardian angel and watch over her family, as she always has.