Elizabeth “Betsey” Kitt Forbes, 88, died April 23, 2019 of natural causes at Highgate Senior Living in Bozeman, MT.
Betsey was born January 3, 1931 in Missoula, MT to Alice and Robert Kitt. She grew up in Missoula and then attended the University of Montana, graduating with a degree in Home Economics. During college she met Don Forbes, and they married in 1953. She and Don moved to Billings, MT in 1954, beginning a long and happy life there together.
Betsey spent her entire career working as a dietician at Billings Deaconess Hospital. She enjoyed spending time with a large group of friends. Her interests included reading, knitting, cooking, playing bridge, birding, geology, environment causes, biking and traveling. After their three children left the nest, and even more after retiring, she and Don traveled the world together.
Betsey always demonstrated a drive for knowledge and truth and showed great intellectual interest in many broad topics including literature, arts, and current political events. Once Betsey bought a moving scale model of the moon and earth in order to understand their relationship to each other. She was quite passionate in her long political debates with family and friends.
In 2005, at the age of 74, Betsey suddenly developed dementia. Don was her primary caregiver until 2016, and when he could no longer do it, she was placed in memory care. She faced her illness bravely throughout the 14 years she endured it. In spite of her dementia personality characteristics persisted; in her final years in memory care, before sitting down to eat each meal, she always corrected all the place settings!
While raising their family in Billings, Don and Betsey greatly appreciated the park system with all its recreational opportunities. They particularly enjoyed Pioneer Park and Veterans Park. In 2002 they donated 38 acres of land at 54th Street West to the City of Billings for the purpose of someday developing it into a park the size of Pioneer Park to serve the West Side of Billings. “Cottonwood Park” has not yet been developed; however, a dedicated group in Billings is working toward its eventual completion.
Don and Betsey established an endowment fund with the Montana Community Foundation. The grants from the fund have been donated to many nonprofit organizations in Montana. These grants will continue in perpetuity. Their particular area of interest was environmental and outdoor causes.
Betsey is survived by her daughter Molly (Marv) Hessler of Bozeman, son Andrew (Patty) Forbes of Boise ID; grandsons Nick Hessler of Bozeman, Eric (Eve) Hessler of Duluth, MN, Tyler (Emily) Hessler of Bozeman, Austin Forbes of Denver, CO, Roland Forbes of Bozeman, and Matthew Forbes of Boise, ID; six great grandchildren; granddaughter-in-law Sarah Hessler of Bozeman; and sister-in-law Donna Forbes of Billings. Betsey was preceded in death by her son Ned Forbes, husband Don Forbes, brother Bob Kitt and sister Peggy Schrader.
A private memorial gathering is planned by the family on a later date.
Memorial donations are suggested to the Cottonwood Park development. Donations can be mailed to “Billings Park Recreation & Preservation Foundation” c/o Anne Cole, 3733 Tommy Armour Circle, Billings, MT 59106. Please write checks to “Billings Park Recreation & Preservation Foundation”.