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Betty Wirth’s Career Finds New Outlet

Betty Wirth

When Betty Wirth, a resident of The Timbers of Shorewood, first saw a notice last year that the Timbers was starting a newspaper written by residents, she thought how much fun that would be. She immediately volunteered.

The old saying, “Everyone has a story to tell” is certainly true of the Timbers staff and the residents. Betty enjoys writing about residents and staff. Working with other members of the team, with the guidance of the director Amy Odell, has been a fulfilling experience.

Betty’s career with newspapers began in the late 1940s when the Joliet Herald News hired her as Assistant Society Editor, later becoming Society Editor.

When Betty and her husband, Robert “Red” Wirth, were expecting their first son, she left her job at the paper to begin raising her family. The family grew to six wonderful children – Robert, (wife Mary F.), William (deceased), Mary Jean (husband Dennis Evans), John (nickname Nuke), Joseph (wife Mary Bee) and Carol (husband Bill Knoch).

“When my youngest, Carol, started school, I was hired by the weekly Spectator as the Women’s Editor,” Betty said. “The next year, the Herald News bought the Spectator and hired me as a writer and copy editor.”

After she retired at age 65, she continued to do some writing from home for the newspaper. When she was assigned to do a few interviews of residents at the Timbers of Shorewood for the Herald News, her husband would accompany her. As they would travel down River Road on their way to visit family, Red would chuckle and point to the Timbers saying, “Betty, that’s where you’re going to live.”

The years took their toll on Red who was a wounded 101st Infantry Paratrooper during World War II. The family decided that Red and Betty should move to a senior living facility. The Timbers was their first and only choice for which Betty was and remains grateful. 

Unfortunately, Red passed away two weeks before they planned to move in just as the couple was going to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Betty decided to proceed with the move.

“When Covid 19 hit the world, my family and I were grateful for the safety the Timbers provided me,” Betty said. “I have been richly rewarded with not only my family, extended families, and friends but also my friendships with the Timbers’ residents and staff.”

As the years passed, Betty’s role as mother and mother-in-law expanded to add the joyful titles of grandmother and great-grandmother.

The variety of activities at the Timbers helps to keep her and the other residents young.