Routh remembered for her kindness

Betty Routh led a very active life.

She was a lifetime member of Mayview Methodist Church until it’s closure
in 1982, when she became a member of the St. Joseph United Methodist
She was a member in both churches as both a teacher and leader of women’s
She was active in the St. Joseph Senior Citizens group and routinely
brought delicious custard pies to their monthly potlucks.
She was a soloist, performing locally and throughout the state. She was
also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a charter member of the
Auxillary of the American Legion, a member of the Homemakers Club, a Red
Hats member, a member of the Carle Auxillary and a member of the Women’s
Club of St. Joseph.
She volunteered at the St. Joseph grade school library and the Champaign
County Forest Preserve, where she volunteered for 16 years and was known
as the Bluebird Lady.
Even though she was a mainstay at numerous groups throughout Champaign
County, what people remember the most about Routh was her smile and the
kind words she had for everyone.
“She had a warm soul and she had never met a stranger,” said St. Joseph
United Methodist Church member Kate Morgan. “She was very welcoming
whether it was here at church or in the community.”
Routh, 94, past away on July 13 at her home in St. Joseph.
Morgan said that when she first moved to St. Joseph 25 years ago Routh was
one of the first people she met at the church. On the very first Sunday
they attended they took their daughters into the nursery and Routh greeted
“My girls grew up with her,” Morgan said. “She taught them all their
nursery songs.”
It was a connection that continued until Routh’s passing.
Morgan, who helped care for Routh during her final months, said Routh
asked about her daughters who are now 27 and 29. In fact, they faced time
with one of the daughters who recently had a baby in Colorado.
“Betty was very connected no matter what the age group,” Morgan said. “It
didn’t matter what the age range was she could find something relevant to
talk with you.”
St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges said she admired Routh’s positive
“She never complained even as her body began to slow her down,”
Fruhling-Voges said. “I would ask her how she was and she would smile and
reply ‘getting old isn’t for sissies.’ I will never forget her saying
Former Mayor BJ Hackler said he and Routh shared a birthday month with his
birthday on January 21 and hers on January 24. Hackler said they would
often try to outdo each other with a birthday surprise.
“More people need to be like her,” Hackler said. “She was a great lady and
she will be missed.”
Routh was born Jan. 24, 1924 to Will and Elsie Saddoris in the family
home in Mayview.
She married Lowell Routh on June 24, 1942, at Mayview Methodist Church.
The Rouths had four children; Lea, Mark, Paul and Sara.
They had 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Halle Blaemire
Miller, her husband and her daughter, Lea Reeves.


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