Betty was born to Frieda (Welch) and John Doxtator. Her grandparents were Elizabeth Metoxin and Bert Welch. She enjoyed 3 sisters and 1 brother. Luanne (Lu), twins Elaine and Lorraine and Jerome. Betty has many memories of her family and enjoyed recalling how the twins would go shopping separately but would invariably pick out the same items. This happened whenever they shopped for cards. When the receiver would open them they would fin the girls had individually bought the same one.
Betty remembers the family's yearly trip each spring to Keshena for the Corpus Christi Celebration. Each year she looked forward to the beauty and pageantry of the celebration and treasures those memories to this day.
Her Father, John, was a generous man. Anyone needing a place to stay only needed to meet him and they were immediately brought home. The home was always filled with a steady flow of people. If anyone presented themselves wanting for anything John had a knack for finding whatever was needed whether it was a blanket, a coat or shoes, John would find it and furnish them with the needed items.
Osceola Quinney was brought to their home and remained after all the other children grew up and left. He remained with Betty’s Mom until her passing and then was moved to a nursing home. Osceola’s Mother Melindy was moved in also when Betty’s Dad John found out she was having a difficult time.
Music was a large part of the family times. The family always enjoyed music and many of the members played an instrument of some sort. Fiddle music, singing and square dancing fill her childhood memories.
Betty attended the Stockbridge School and graduated from the High School. She enjoyed her time at Stockbridge High School and after graduating she attended Marion College in Fond du Lac Wisconsin. After attending College for a time she met and fell in Love with Marvin Gerber, so after 2 years of college she dropped out school and was proud to become Marvin’s wife. They moved to Milwaukee as they felt there would be better job opportunities in a larger city.
Betty and Marvin had six children; three daughters and three sons, Nancy, Sharon, Christine, Leland, Daniel, and Ricky. She points out that son Ricky was born during the Ricky Nelson era hence his name. Ricky liked his name while growing up and if anyone made the mistake of calling him Richard or Rick he was sure to correct them.
Marvin became an "Orkin" man and was nicknamed the "Bug man". He was provided a company car and it was the family’s means of transportation. He also had a company credit card for purchasing gas. It could only be used at a specific station. Whenever the family was out on the road they would have to keep an eye open for one of those stations so they could get gas. Betty recalls how her children grew up thinking their car could only have that station’s gas. She and Marvin always felt blessed that even during times they didn’t have a nickel to their names, they could drive that car.
Wife and Mother were not the only monikers Betty carried. She also became a Nurses Aid. She worked at St. Luke’s hospital as a nurse’s aid for a total of approximately 12 years. She floated departments at times but mainly worked her first six years on the respiratory ward and the latter years on the Oncology Unit. She states that it is her firm belief that nobody should work on those units as long as she did because as much as you try to remain emotionally distant it is inevitable that the death and devastation of life will affect you.
It was also during this time and after 25 years of marriage that her husband Marvin passed away from heart disease. She found herself a single Mom with her youngest child being 12 years of age. Betty didn’t speak of the hurdles she crossed being a single parent but most people can surmise the challenges.
Betty eventually needed a change and left St. Luke’s and started working at West Allis Memorial Hospital. Her first duties were on the children’s floor. Used to wheeling patients on gurneys and wheelchairs she was unsure what the protocol was for transporting the tiny baby she was told to take to x-ray. When told to carry the infant in her arms she felt awed and overwhelmed. She still is amazed at the way children accept illness and injury. Betty remembers a five year old girl who just had an appendectomy and she had to help her to the bathroom. She expected many reactions from such a little girl with a large incision and was amazed to watch the little girl hop off the bed and walk to the bathroom like nothing was the matter.
Betty retired from West Allis Memorial Hospital. She moved to Chilton to be near her Mom during her remaining years. During this time she met Bob Groh. They have been married for almost 6 years. She and Bob have been living on the reservation for close to 5 years now and they feel fortunate to be spoiled by the tribe as elders in the community. They enjoy a combined total of 12 grandchildren. They look forward to each visit with their families and do that as often as they can.
Betty’s message for the younger generation is to complete your education. Strive for what you want and always remember you can be whatever you want to be.