Elizabeth “Betty” Wilson

Elizabeth “Betty” Wilson, 77, of Shawnee, Kansas died peacefully at her home on Sunday, July 7, 2024 with her husband by her side. She was born May 21, 1947 in Holdredge, Nebraska to Ardelle and Charlotte (Hansen) James. 

In May 1965, at age 18, Betty left home to live with her Aunt Irene Hansen in Emporia Kansas. It was there she met Tom, who was a student at Kansas State teachers College (now known as Emporia State University.) He was cutting the lawn, and Betty brought him a glass of lemonade.

They were married on June 21, 1969 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Topeka, Kansas. Betty received her nursing degree from Stormont Vail in Topeka. She practiced nursing at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri for a number of years before starting her family. 

In 1973, she and Tom responded to a classified ad for “Fun Services,” a franchise opportunity providing entertainment and fundraising for schools, churches and local civic organizations. They operated their business from their Prairie Village home until moving to a warehouse on Merriam Lane. From there they moved the business to Johnson Drive in 1979. 

Betty evolved Fun Services constantly due to customer requests. It was a family business and a local Shawnee staple. Everyone loved the Party Room! 

Betty always kept busy ordering merchandise, attending trade shows, packing Santa Secret Shop boxes, opening up temporary Halloween stores, blowing up a billion balloons, and helping countless brides with wedding invitations. It could be said that having “FUN” was her passion. 

Betty was fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible employees over the years, friendships and memories that lasted a lifetime. 

Her son, Zach, bought the carnival side of the business in 2000. She continued operating the party store as Fun Party and Wedding Services until her “retirement“ in 2017. However, she continued to work for Zach in his office until her final days. 

Betty had a love for Food Network TV and Emeril Lagasse. She had shelves full of cookbooks and enjoyed trying to re-create meals. 

Betty was proceded in death by her parents, and brother, Larry. She is survived by her husband of 55 plus years, Tom. Her son Zach Wilson and fiancé, Janie Young. Her daughter Adriane Brandenburg and son-in-law, Aaron Brandenburg, six grandchildren Desirae, Dalton, Daelyn, Dakota, Grace and Joey, and six great grandchildren. As well as brother Richard James, sisters-in-law, Jennifer James and Juanita James. 

Mass of Christian burial will be held on Thursday, July 11, 2024 at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Shawnee Kansas. Visitation will begin at 10 AM followed by Mass at 11 AM. A luncheon will follow in McDevitt Hall at the Church. Burial will be at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Shawnee during a private family ceremony. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Mission Forward Campaign at Saint James Catholic Academy, 24505 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas.

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