Betty Ann Rich was born on March 29, 1940, and raised in the north side of Chicago, near Lake Michigan and Wrigley Field.
Her father, Clyde, took her to many football games and at an early age, taught Betty a lot about life. At the age of 10, Betty learned to take the CTA (the ‘L’) train on her own and quickly fell in love with the city. She also grew to love the Cubs, as the elementary school she attended sat just across the street from Wrigley Field. School would let out just in time for students to catch seventh inning.
Betty attended Lakeview High School for a half year before her family moved to Downers Grove. In 1957, she graduated from Downers Grove High School and had dreams of becoming a teacher. She had her heart set on attending North Central College or Northern Illinois University. Upon receiving a scholarship, she ultimately chose Northern Illinois.
Excelling at shorthand and typing, Betty studied business education while at college. She was very smart, dedicated, and got along with all her fellow classmates. As a freshman, she lived in Neptune Hall, where she soon met Jerry Rich. Jerry was fixing up his friend at that time and did not know Betty. He can remember seeing her walk down the stairs and was instantly swept away. Soon thereafter, they started seeing each other. Four years later, Betty and Jerry both graduated on June 10, 1961, and later that night, got married at the First Methodist Church in Downers Grove.
Betty and Jerry always dreamed of owning their own little farm, and soon enough they moved to a small farm in Sugar Grove. Little did they know that, one day, their 10 little farms would blossom into one special farm estate.
Supportive of all Jerry’s endeavors, Betty was always a part of every major decision he made. This was especially so when they began to develop Rich Harvest Farms in 1985, the now 18-hole private golf course that sits amidst a tranquil and picturesque landscape. After Jerry built just one hole, Betty and he agreed it would be “more fun” to continue building, and so he did.
Although not favored by many golfers, the tall oaks and shagbark hickories scattered on the course were kept for Betty and her love of trees and nature. Betty also loved the English, Tudor-style look, and every building on Rich Harvest Farms reflects her taste and has a warm, country feel as soon as you enter any room.
In her later years, Betty enjoyed playing bridge with friends and family members, including her mother, Marge—still living today at age 92—whom many say Betty got her good looks and warm heart from.
Betty’s giving spirit was shared by Jerry and eventually grew into something special: the Kids Golf Foundation. Founded in 1998, this nonprofit junior golf organization makes its home today at Rich Harvest Farms. The Foundation has touched the lives of over 150,000 youth through golf, and its valuable life lessons.
Betty’s strong sense of character and optimism are an inspiration to all that knew her. No matter what endeavors she encountered, her spirit was never broken and her smile never faded. She was loved by all who knew her and will be deeply missed.
Betty is survived by her husband, Jerry Rich; mother, Marge Shaffer; son, Keith Rich; and grandchildren, Margaret and Lauren Rich.
A funeral mass was held on Saturday at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, celebrated by Fr. Bob Jones. Private family interment will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, P.O. Box 610, Sugar Grove, Illinois, 60554 is appreciated.
Arrangements were finalized under the direction of The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Drive. For further information, call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to leave an online condolence.