Betty Ann Martinez, 71, a longtime resident of Gillette, died Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, at Old Cheney Rehabilitation in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her daughter Nancy by her side.
A Mass of Christian burial for Mrs. Martinez begins at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Gillette with burial to follow at Mount Pisgah Cemetery.
Walker Funeral Home will host visitation from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, followed by a vigil.
She was born to Salvador and Josephine (Diaz) Martinez on Nov. 13, 1947, in Julesburg, Colorado.
Her family soon moved to Kimball, Nebraska, where Betty grew up and had many fond memories of adventures with her siblings. She graduated from Kimball High School in 1965.
She spent time in Denver, Colorado, as a nanny and attended business school before returning to Kimball. She followed her family to Gillette in 1970, where she worked at the A&W.
In May 1971, Betty welcomed her only daughter, Nancy, into the world. Betty and Nancy soon ventured to Laramie, where Betty graduated from the University of Wyoming in May 1977 with her teaching degree. Betty taught high school business classes at Saratoga High School from 1977-1979, and also was a cheerleading and FBLA sponsor.
In 1979, she and her daughter returned to Gillette, where she began her career at The Carter Mining Co. as mine manager secretary and later transferring to employee relations. She worked at both Caballo and Rawhide mines and the main office in Gillette and continued her employment with Peabody Energy after the acquisition.
She volunteered with numerous Gillette organizations, including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), patient advocate for the dialysis unit at Campbell County Memorial Hospital, St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, John Paul II Catholic School, TCW Catholic Women and also national associations, including Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and ESRD Network 15.
In 2009, she began her medical voyage with dialysis after a near-death experience. On Aug. 31, 2017, she received a kidney transplant at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver. She represented dialysis patients in Wyoming on both Network 15’s Patient Advisory Committee (serving six southwestern states) and represented patients nationally on the National Patient and Family Engagement (PFE) Learning and Action Network (LAN).
She advocated fiercely for great patient care, including serving on the National PFE LANs to decrease patient infections (Health Acquired Infection Group), and to increase transplants. She also was chosen on three occasions to speak directly with CMS to represent current patient concerns and discuss/represent being a dialysis patient.
As part of the Patient Advisory Committee, she helped design a “Patient to Patient ... Let’s Talk About Fluids” booklet and laminated lab cards for dialysis patients to help patients understand their lab values.
She enjoyed playing volleyball for many years at the Rec Center. When she wasn’t playing, she was on the sidelines reffing. She spent many hours of her life on bleachers watching her daughter, nieces, nephews and grandchildren play all kinds of sports and dance recitals.
She spent many hours on the road traveling to different venues to watch and most of the time taking her parents with her. She always had a smile on her face and one to give away.
Betty is survived by her daughter, Nancy; son-in-law, Mitch; and grandsons, Conner and Jarrett Myers, all of Lincoln, Nebraska; sisters, Mary (Wayne) Boom of Story and Jane Fitch of Gillette; nieces and nephew, Bev (Dennis) Jochims, Billie (Kent) Wilkerson, Haleigh Martinez of Gillette, Sonja (Phil) Atwell of Buffalo, Chuck (Brandy) Fitch of Silver City, New Mexico, and Robyn Morgan of Lancaster, California; 11 great-nieces and nephews; and six great-great-nieces and nephews.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, Salvador and Josephine Martinez; brothers, Robert, Sal and Richard Martinez; and her brother-in-law, Bill Fitch Jr.
She also lost her beloved cat, Samantha.
In lieu of flowers, the family has established a memorial in Betty’s name. Donations will be for multiple nonprofit organizations.
Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Walker Funeral Home, 410 Medical Arts Court, Gillette, WY 82716.
Condolences also may be expressed at walkerfuneralgillette.com.
This paid obituary was provided by family and friends.