God took Betsy Ann Ruda Whitaker of Atwood, KS home into his loving arms on January 1, 2022 after she lost her battle with Covid. Betsy was born on July 4, 1947 to Anton and Marian Ruda and was the fifth of seven children. Betsy loved being born on the 4th of July because everyone celebrated her birthday by shooting off fireworks. She was known in the family as The Little Sparkler.
Betsy attended Norte Dame Academy in Omaha, NE for the first two years of high school and then spent the last two years at Atwood High School where she graduated with the Class of 1965. After graduation Betsy attended St. Francis School of Nursing in Wichita, KS. where she received her two-year degree as a diplomaed nurse. She then worked at St. Francis Hospital for several years.
Betsy married Mike Whitaker in February 1971 and to this union they were blessed with two children, a Daughter, Audra and a Son, Robert. They moved to Cheyenne, WY, where Betsy worked at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. Betsy then worked at Sheridan County Memorial Hospital from 1975 to 2009. Upon her retirement, Betsy moved back to her hometown of Atwood to be close to her Mother which turned out to be the highlight of her life. It was her Mom's dream to have a daughter live nearby. They became the best of friends and Bingo Buddies. Betsy also took a position at Rawlins County Hospital until 2012 as she was continuing her education in which she earned her BSN in Nursing.
In October 2012, her Son Robert moved back to Atwood to spend time with his Mom and Grandma. After Betsy's Mom died in 2013, the two of them became the closest of friends. Robert was Betsy’s Guardian Angel always there to help his Mom.
Betsy's faith was most important to her and she attended Sacred Heart Church. Besides being very proud of her children, Betsy had a number of hobbies including crocheting, game shows and, of course, Bingo. Betsy was a very kind, considerate, loving and caring Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin and Friend.
Betsy was preceded in death by her Father, Anton J. Ruda in 1980, her Mother Marian Ruda in 2013, Brother Tony Ruda in 2008, Sister-in-Law Marcia Ruda in 2006, Brother-in-Law Ferrell Shuck in 2018 and Niece Robin Harris in 2017.
Betsy is survived by her Daughter Dr. Audra Winder (Tom), Son Robert Whitaker, Granddaughters Carly and Katie Winder, Brothers Ken Ruda (Shirley) and Dave Ruda (Pam), Sisters Janice Shuck, Vicki Koch (Regan) and Carla Focke (Bill) along with many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and a great-great niece.
A Memorial Mass will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Atwood, with a Rosary at 10:00 a.m.. Donations may be made in Betsy’s name to the Kansas University Willed Body Program and sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701.