PAW PAW - Richard Harold Bettner, 86, of Salt Springs, Fla., formerly of Paw Paw, passed away Sept. 8, 2021 at Advent Health Waterman Hospital in Tavares, Fla.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Compton with Rev. Jeff Schlesinger officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery with military honors by Mendota VFW Post 4079. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 at the Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota.
Richard “Dick” Bettner was born June 21, 1935 in Waterman to Harold and Minnie (Hampton) Bettner. He married Mary Engelhardt on Dec. 8, 1956 at Immanuel Lutheran Church. She preceded him in death in 2010.
Survivors include his children, Dwight of North Carolina, Doug (Tina) of Silver Springs, Fla., Duane of Salt Springs, Fla., Dawn (Jason) Foster of Paw Paw, Mike Rauh of Salt Springs, Fla., Jeffrey of Colorado and Jake of Illinois; 10 grandchildren, Wendy Kay of Sycamore, Justin Bettner and Jennifer Bettner both of Odum, Ga., Samantha Niehaus of Silver Springs, Fla., Danielle Abbey of Ocala, Fla., Kaitlyn Broughton of Loves Park, Kristyn Bettner of Princeton, Tylar Foster of Petersburg, Taryn Foster of Nashville, Ga. and Trysta Foster of Russellville, Ark.; 11 great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Lampson, Nikita Hardesty, Natasha Hardesty, Tucker Bettner, Cooper Bettner, Grayson Bettner, Raina Lou Niehaus, Sirus Niehaus, Emberlyn Abbey, Keira Hollenback and Jonah Barnes; and one sister, Sandra Beardin of Arizona.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, David; his wife; one brother, Bill; and one sister, Delores Mershon.
Richard served in the U.S. Army, where he was a Duck Mechanic and received the Expert Marksman honor. After his time in the military, he was a deputy for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and a police officer for the Village of Paw Paw. In the 1970’s, he helped start what was the Ambulance Service in Princeton and served as an EMT. He farmed and owned and operated Bettner Tiling and Paw Paw Realty for many years. He and Mary made their home in Paw Paw where they raised five children. He was always willing to help anyone in need, even if he didn’t know them. His humor was not for the faint of heart, but to his family it was one of his best qualities. He was a firearms enthusiast and enjoyed wildlife in the Ocala Forest, including seeing the bears in his yard. He could frequently be found with his dog Minnie by his side, whether at home or driving around town.
Memorials may be directed to the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be left at www.merrittfh.com.