Patricia “Pat” Bettschen Dietz, age 82, formerly of Bismarck, ND, passed away Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at her home in Hudson, WI while holding the hands of her two daughters, Christine and Terri. Pat was born on March 1, 1938 in Grand Forks, ND to Burton “Burt” and Lillian (Klagos) Bettschen. She graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in 1956 and went on to attend the University of North Dakota where she received a degree in social work and a Masters in speech and drama. On June 6, 1964, she married Gary Barko and they later divorced. They had a daughter, Christine. On November 26, 1971, Pat married Ron Dietz and they had a daughter, Teresa (Terri).
Pat began her teaching career in Lake Park, MN and taught high school English, speech, and drama in various school districts for the next ten years. She then spent time as a television copywriter and also owned and operated a women’s consignment store, Sophisticated Lady, in Bismarck, ND. Missing the classroom, Pat returned to teaching and taught at Bismarck State College, University of Mary, and Century High School in Bismarck, ND. Pat made a lasting impact on her students and was still in contact with several of them even in recent years. She was known as a tough, outspoken teacher who instilled a love of English and theater in her students. Pat was a stickler for grammar, and she would likely take a red pen to this very obituary and make corrections. She was extremely proud of starting Friends of the Fine Arts (FOFA) for high school students in Bismarck. FOFA helped students develop an appreciation of the arts by attending performances and going to museums. The highlight for Pat and the students were the trips they took to Minneapolis together. Always a teacher at heart, in 2019 she published a teacher’s guide entitled “An Evening with the Bard”- a classroom and production schedule for teaching Shakespeare in a hands-on format.
Pat was involved in theater from a young age and often spoke of the wonderful times she had on stage. From sixth grade until her last stage performance in 2009, she performed in over forty live theater productions. Pat was a talented pianist and singer and most recently a member of the First Presbyterian Church choir in Hudson and involved in Hudson’s River City Chorale since its inception.
Pat was truly one of a kind and sometimes the only way to describe her was by simply saying, “she’s just Pat!” She was the life of the party, a great dancer, and loved to dress for the occasion, often matching her glasses and nail polish to her outfit. Pat was never one to hold back her opinion on anything, especially regarding politics and her Minnesota Vikings, but was still willing to entertain differing viewpoints from those she respected and loved (as long as it wasn’t about Aaron Rodgers.) She loved her family deeply; her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were a source of constant joy and she took pride in telling others about their lives and accomplishments. She was a true dog lover and spoiled her sweet Joy and even her many grand dogs.
She is survived by her daughter, Christine (Kelsey) Damron of Topeka, KS; daughter, Terri (Terry) Marquardt of Rogers, AR; eleven grandchildren: Megan (Andrew) Kirby, Jonah Graf, Hannah McGahey, Rachel Graf, Joshua Graf, Elisabeth Graf, Gabriel Graf, Katherine Marquardt, Olivia Marquardt, Sophia Marquardt, Isabella Marquardt, and eight great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ron, of 36 years; her father and mother Burt and Lillian; her “special person,” Lloyd Grandprey; and her beloved dog, Joy.
Services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI. Pat will be interred alongside her husband, Ron, at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, ND. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you give a donation to a charity of your choice in Pat’s memory.