Obituary: Bettylou K. Lebeda March 5, 2023

BETTYLOU K. LEBEDA March 5, 2023

Bettylou K. Lebeda, of Los Alamos, NM, died in the very early morning of March 5, 2023, after a several-year battle with pancreatitis and liver cancer. She passed quietly in her sleep, comforted by her husband Charles and younger daughter Susan. Bettylou was 79.

Bettylou is survived by her husband of 58 years, Charles Lebeda, and her four children and their respective spouses; William and wife Christine; Katherine Richard and husband David; Nicholas and wife Shelley, and Susan Smith.

She was preceded in death by her son-in-law Mark Smith, husband of Susan. She was joyfully able to watch her six grandchildren Maggie, Clare, Kayley, Ellie, Cooper, and CJ, grow to adulthood. She is also survived by her two brothers, William, Jr. and James Keezer.

Born in Vincennes, IN, to parents William Stillman Keezer and Cynthia Jean Keezer (née Martin), Bettylou graduated high school in Carson City, NV, and attended college in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Minnesota before graduating with a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa in 1966.

She and Charles lived in Iowa, Alberta Canada, and Minnesota before settling down in Los Alamos, NM, in 1973. She became drawn to the artistic world through painting and eventually screen- printing, which became her life’s work.

As a 50-year resident of Los Alamos, Bettylou was a staple in the Los Alamos community, well-known as the owner/operator of “Red-Barn Screen Prints.” For more than 40 years, she printed custom designs on almost everything from hand towels and banners to ball caps and t-shirts. There was rarely an event occurring in the area, from athletic competitions, group and club activities, to staged performances at the high school or local theater venue, without her adorned attire present.

Bettylou was also a talented craftsperson and costumer, making a multitude of high-school and the “Los Alamos Little Theater” productions possible with her generosity of time, ingenuity, and skill.

Active in Los Alamos County itself, having served on the County Utilities Board, Bettylou worked with the League of Women Voters and other local organizations, making herself an invaluable resource for the community throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. She was also a proud member of the “Daughters of the American Revolution.”

Bettylou was an avid reader, with Tony Hillerman being one of her favorite authors. At the time of her passing, she had more than 2,000 books collected on her reading tablet, not to mention the waist-high stacks of paperback romance and mystery novels throughout her house. She loved Broadway-style musicals like “West Side Story,” the folk-style music of John Denver, and the dulcet tones of flautist James Galway.

Bettylou had a great, loud laugh, and loved to laugh often. She would regularly do so through the stories told to her by friends, children, and grandchildren until she was out of breath.

To all that knew her, she will be very dearly missed.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society or the Cancer Research Institute.

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