St. Paul’s United Methodist Church will be broadcasting the service for Betty and Armen below:
Betty Hidalgo was born in a hospital in Mitchell, South Dakota on October 4, 1943. Little was it known then that she would spend a lot of time in hospitals caring for many people for many years. Betty was a nurse and it inspired her life. But let us talk first about the early years and then come back to nursing.
Her parents, Minna (Brandenburg) and Elmer Lundborg, brought her home to Alpena, South Dakota, a small town of 400 people. Visits with relatives all over the countryside instilled a strong sense of family—gathering for holidays, birthdays and later vacations. Yes, Betty loved a gathering, any occasion for a party and would go on to become a delightful and delighted hostess. There would be homemade bread, Grandma’s dill pickles, and the blessed Brandenburg scalloped potatoes. And then to top off the meal, homemade ice cream using fresh cream from her uncle’s farm.
Betty recalled that as a little girl she would arrange her room as a hospital and each of her dolls and stuffed animals were her patients. Oh, what loving care they must have received!
When Betty was 10, the family moved to Helena, Montana, near Elmer’s family. In junior high and high school, Betty was actively involved with the Rainbow Girls as Worthy Advisor and received the Grand Cross of Colors.
After graduating from high school Betty went to Montana State College and obtained an associate nursing degree. She did her practicum in Warm Springs where she met and fell in love with Armen Hidalgo. They were married on September 19, 1963 and settled in Great Falls, Montana. They had two children, and Betty became stepmother to Armen’s three children from a previous marriage.
Outside of her family, Betty’s biggest passion in life was being a nurse and advocating for maternal-child healthcare. Betty began her professional nursing career working as a labor and delivery nurse helping to bring life into the world and contributing to the health and well-being of generations of families in Great Falls and beyond. From there, Betty dedicated years of her life volunteering for the March of Dimes and working at the Great Falls Clinic as an OBGYN nurse, focused on women’s healthcare and supporting expecting mothers in the community. Betty was so well known by all the women and mother’s she helped that even going to the grocery with her was always a social event. People always wanted to share how their lives were improving every day from their connection to and help from Betty. She always took time to listen and offer support, leaving others lighter and brighter with her empathy, smile and spirit.
After decades of working in a community clinic setting, Betty set her sights and goals on statewide and national advocacy in the areas of child abuse and neglect, infant mortality, health equity and resources for more vulnerable and underserved mothers and infants. Her passion, drive and expertise as an OBGYN nurse, brought her back to live in Helena where she engaged community leaders, funders and legislators to influence policy and funding needed to improve healthcare for women and children across the state.
Betty also worked and served as Board President for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, an organization committed to improving the lives of women and children in Montana. For that work she was recognized by Montana’s governor as a leader and force for change needed to address maternal health and child abuse issues
She was the recipient of several other awards for her work, dedication and commitment to the women, children and families of Montana. Those awards include the national 2012 Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner’s Award given to her in Washington, DC. True to her values, Betty brought her family and grandchildren with her for the event, including an unforgettable award reception and a Nationals Major League Baseball game.
On a personal level, Betty’s work and service to others never stopped despite the serious physical health challenges she faced later in life. She was always sought out and surrounded by her strong circle of friends and colleagues to enjoy a night out on the town—a wonderful meal at local restaurants or making memories in all the spontaneous ways that she was known for. Betty loved going to music concerts and Symphony Under the Stars, and the theater. She supported and organized local fund-raising efforts and took great pleasure sparking bidding wars at charity auctions to maximize contributions.
Betty passed away peacefully on September 26 at the home of her daughter and son-in-law in Whitehall, Montana surrounded by loving family.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Armen Hidalgo, her parents, Minna and Elmer Lundborg, and her stepdaughter, Sandy Hidalgo.
She is survived by her sister, Janine Settelmeyer, her son, David Hidalgo (John Bischof), her daughter, Stephanie Eisenstein (Anthony Eisenstein), her stepdaughter, Betsy Pahut (Larry Pahut), her stepson Joey Hidalgo (Lorna Hidalgo), and her many grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life Service for Betty and Armen will be held on Saturday, October 8, Noon, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church with a Reception to follow in the Social Hall.
Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.
Janine Settelmeyer says
I am the sister to Betty Hidalgo and my last name is misspelled in the obituary. I would sure appreciate it if you could correct before sending to be published. Thank you,
Nata Noland says
What an absolutely lovely account of Betty’s life. She was a wonderful person and a very special friend to me. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was truly one of the most caring individuals I have ever known. Thank you for taking such good care of your parents, Stephanie. Nata Noland
Wanda wonsick says
Betty was such a wonderful lady as my ob nurse and neighbor and friend! Wonderful memories of Betty and Arman! Love and prayers to all the family!
🙏🏻🙏🏻 From Bill and Wanda Wonsick
Sandy Pepos says
I am so very sorry to read this. Betty was my nurse for both of my children when she worked for Dr. Burleigh. I loved her so much. Your family is in my prayers.
Sandra Hins says
Dennis and Sandra(Neuharth) Hins,
I am Betty’s cousin. Our mothers were Brandenburg sisters.
Betty and I were a year apart in age and with all the family get togethers we enjoyed each other’s company.
Living so far apart we girls didn’t see each other often. Reading her beautiful obituary – it was so wonderful to see how much she helped women and was loved by so many.
Her family is in our prayers and know she will be greatly missed. I would love to hear Armens and Betty’s memorial service. Sandra Hins-
Debbie Kimball says
To Betty’s Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. I remember Betty very fondly. What a kind lady with such a soft calming voice. She made going to the OBGYN a pleasant experience. May your happy memories help you to smile when you need them most. Sending hugs and prayers to all.
Patricia Rosenleaf says
To Betty’s Family, I will never forget Armen and Betty’s kindness to Carl and me when we first moved to GF. We were welcomed into their home, and whenever Armen’s best friend who was Carl’s older brother visited, we would end up at Armen and Betty’s place. Betty was also my OB nurse at the then Deaconess during the birth of my daughter. Things went south, but Betty never ceased with her care and concern. David and then Steff, you were the lights of her life. I am sorry for your loss. The world is a little less bright without your mom’s welcoming smile. Lovely write-up about her. My best to you all.
Carol Jacobsen says
So very sorry to learn of Betty’s passing. What a kind and loving soul. She will be sorely missed by all whose life she touched.
Linda Smith says
Sorry Betsy for the loss of your stepmother. Peace to you at this time of remembering your father and your stepmother. Such a difficult time. Share the memories and the joys of having them in your life
Christ’s peace to you,
Dawn Bruck says
I met Betty working at the VA. Betty was always happy and smiling with a good attitude. It sounds like she had many friends and family who loved her dearly. My condolences.
Vicki L Clark says
What a wonderful lady. Betty was there for the birth of both of my sons. She was a stabilizing force of nature. Rest easy dear lady!
Suzanne Smith says
Rest In Peace my friend. I will miss you.
Pattu Moyer says
I met your folks when my son Garrett was helped by them. They were such a wonderful couple and always made sure to say hi at least once a year to me.
Janine Settelmeyer says
Sorry for the above note – I was confused & thought I was sending a message to the funeral home.
Am so glad that I could be with my big sis as she left to be with Armen and Mom & Dad in the heaven’s above.
So many, many memories…. I can hear the songs… Amazing Grace, Elvis, Pavarotti and more.
Bet she is reminiscing and hearing stories of all around her. We’ll see you later, sis. 💕
Elizabeth Best says
I was very sorry to learn that you lost Betty and Armen. I join the ranks of so many women and families Betty touched. She was a huge part of the prenatal care, birth, and postnatal care of both of our kids, and me. She was there for the joy and for some tough moments as well. We stayed in touch over the years, and I considered her a very good friend. She loved her family so much, and cared so deeply about her community and the kids and families in the “community” of Montana. She was one in a million.
Although Betty’s and Armen’s losses are deeply felt by her family and so many others, they will live on in their good works and the lives she touched. I never met Armen, but I saw his roses on Betty’s and Dr. Burleigh’s white coats each time I showed up for an exam. I really looked forward to those visits. Betty had the best laugh on the planet, and a great sense of humor.
Sympathy and love for all of you.
Robin Lear Martin says
So sorry to hear of Betty and Armen’s passing. They were one of the first people my family met when we moved to Great Falls, even before David was born. I kept in touch with your mom thru working at the Great Falls Clinic. She delivered my niece, Sandi in September 1970. Condolences to you and your families
Marjie and Jim Pribyl says
Prayers for all of Betty and Armand’s family. Betty and Armand were great people and neighbors. We lived down 6th Ave. S. In Great Falls, a block away from them. We enjoyed having Stephanie come to day care at our house and go to kindergarten at Chief Jo with our son Jay and another neighbor girl Melody.