Betty Ann Finch, 92, of Iola died Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at Iola Living Assistance.
Betty Ann (Parks) Finch was born at 435 E State St in Iola, WI on Nov 7, 1922. She was the second of two children. Her father was Earl H. Parks and her mother was Grace E Parks (nee Moe). Her older sister was Mandeline. Her father, the son of Iola photographer W.R Parks, was an orchestra leader and during the 1920s they traveled around Wisconsin to various cities where his orchestra was playing. Betty loved to sing and dance and sometimes would sneak out onto the dance floor to do the Charleston, much to the embarrassment of her mother. Her mother, Grace, was an excellent cook who owned or worked in restaurants to add to the family income. Betty inherited her mother’s cooking talents. When the Great Depression hit, the family packed up and moved to California. After two years they moved back to WI and her father built a traveling restaurant, the Parks Happy Landing Café, with which they traveled with various carnivals through the 1930s and 40s, always returning to winter in Iola. During this time Betty met her future husband Harry Finch, who had joined the carnival from his home in Sauk Centre, MN. Betty graduated as Valedictorian of Iola HS class of 1940 and went to Gregg Business College in Chicago. She and Harry were married in 1943 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Betty gave birth to six children, four of whom survived. They are, Gerald Earl (Jerry), Mary Ann, Paul Douglas and Betty Louise (Betsy). A set of premature twins did not survive. Harry and Betty left the carnival in the mid 1950s and started a restaurant in Iola, the B&H Drive In, which they ran successfully until 1972. Betty had a beautiful singing voice and sang at many weddings and funerals in the 60s and 70s. She was active in the Methodist Church, serving on the Board and was choir director for many years. In later years, she served on the Iola Village Board for multiple terms. She lived independently and drove her car until age 91.
Betty is survived by her children: Gerald Finch and wife Lynne live in New London, WI; Mary Ann (Finch) Shippert and husband Douglas live in Rio. WI; Paul Finch and wife Ellen live in Genoa, WI; Betsy (Finch) Kociuba and husband Bill live in Mesa, AZ. Betty is further survived by nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister and husband.
A Memorial Service will be held at Iola United Methodist Church, Iola, Wisconsin at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17th with Reverend Dale Eggert officiating. Friends may call on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Interment will be in the Riverside Cemetery Iola, Wisconsin. Memorials may be given to the Iola United Methodist Church. Register Book and online condolences may be sent by visiting www.voiefuneralhome.com