ASHLAND – Bette Starns, 85, of Ashland, died peacefully, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 at Oxbow Living Center in Ashland. Bette was born July 28, 1934 to George and Viola (Holder) Clark in Lincoln. She graduated from Lincoln High School and continued her studies at the University of Nebraska receiving her undergraduate degree in music. She continued her education, ultimately earning two masters degrees in music and English.
Bette began teaching music in Ashland in 1967 commuting from Lincoln until she married John Starns where they made their home in Ashland. She taught music for many years and looking for a new challenge, she headed back to school so she could teach English. Bette brought an exciting and fresh approach to the music, drama and English departments. She directed numerous musicals and plays. Her style was frank and tough, but she served as a mentor to many students. In the last five years of her career, Bette taught part-time, one class per day, and night school. It was in her night school classes that she made a significant difference to some of the toughest, at-risk students who later thanked her often for believing in them. After 44 years of teaching Bette retired at the age of 77.
Bette is survived by her seven children, Don (Terry) Marti Jr. of Frederick, Colo., Charlie (Diane) Marti of Lincoln, Geoffrey (Kay) Marti of Lincoln, Julie (Jeff Retzlaff) Starns of Ashland, Sarah (Chris) Roth of Bennington, Carey (Lyle) Starns-Mead of Omaha and her youngest son, Steven Starns of Ashland; many grandchildren; great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.
Bette was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents, George and Viola Clark, and her only sister, Georgia Hawthorne.
There will be a Celebration of Life service Friday, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church, 1702 Boyd St., Ashland. Pastor Bob Schofield will officiate.
Visitation will be Thursday, Aug. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Marcy Mortuary, Ashland.
There will be a private family interment.
Memorials may be sent in care of the family for future designation.
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