Landscapes 14

Bette Jane (Valley) Beneker

April 1, 1949 ~ January 20, 2024 (age 74) 74 Years Old

Bette Beneker Obituary

Bette J. Beneker, age 74 of Prairie du Chien, WI unexpectedly passed away Saturday, January 20, 2024, at the UW Health University Hospital in Madison, WI.  She was born on April 1, 1949, to Carl and Mary (Koecke) Valley in Prairie du Chien, WI.  Bette was the youngest of five children and grew up in the historic original fourth ward of Prairie du Chien which is now known today as St. Feriole Island.  After graduating from Prairie du Chien High School, Bette married Greg Beneker on June 7, 1969.  The two of them were married for 53 years and had two sons together – Greg Beneker II and Bryan Beneker.  Bette worked at the original 3M plant in Prairie du Chien, which is now the site of the Crawford County building, for over 30 years.  Following that she worked five years at the Miss Marquette / Isle of Capri Casino (now known as Casino Queen) in Marquette, IA as a slot attendant. In the last two decades of her life Bette became deeply passionate about the history of Prairie du Chien.  During this time, she frequently conversed with local historians and actively engaged with and supported organizations like the Prairie du Chien Historical Society and the Fort Crawford Museum.  From a historical perspective, perhaps Bette is best known to the community for her love and dedication to preserving the history of the original fourth ward in Prairie du Chien.  In 2015 Bette published Come Hell or High Water:  Prairie du Chien’s 4th Ward on Amazon.  The 260-page book acts as a memorial to the people who lived on St. Feriole Island as it depicts vanished houses, names and addresses of homeowners, and their faces and stories.  Bette also helped create and continually fostered the annual Fourth Ward Reunion where former fourth ward residents and their families return to St. Feriole Island each year to catch up and reminisce about their time in the fourth ward. Over the years Bette enjoyed a number of different activities:  Baking, cleaning, crocheting, crafts, gambling, attending live music shows, and traveling.  Baking and cooking are what most people in the community know her for.  Bette is well-known for her cookies, fudge, Christmas crack candy, and crab dip.  The family knows her for her seven-layer lettuce salad and deviled eggs.  It was not uncommon for family members to sneak Bette’s deviled eggs away from one another. Above all else, family and friends, and people in general, are what Bette loved and lived for.  Bette was a social butterfly that could strike up a conversation with just about anyone and be a friend to them.  Armed with a quick wit, wonderful sense of humor, and an infectious laugh, people never knew what Bette was going to say or do but couldn’t help enjoy being around her.  During tougher times, Bette had a big, tender heart that brought so much love, support, and empathy to others even if she didn’t know them.  A perfect example is a time when Bette was in a grocery store and saw the woman ahead of her in line could not pay for her items.  The woman had only absolute necessities (bread, milk, cereal, etc.) and it was obvious the woman was anxious about what she could afford to put back.  Bette did not know this person but paid the cashier the difference to allow the woman to get everything she needed for her family.  “Five dollars is not going to make or break me.  But it could mean a world of difference to them,” she said.  Bette was a wonderful mother, fierce friend, and the epitome of a good human being that her friends and family will miss dearly. Bette is survived by her son, Bryan Beneker, and many amazing nieces and nephews.  She is preceded in death by her husband Greg Beneker, infant son Greg Beneker II, parents Carl and Mary (Koecke) Valley, sisters Jeannette (Norman) Standorf and Sharon (Terry) Sharp, brothers Dallas (Nancy) Valley and Donald Valley, father-in-law Robert Beneker, and mother-in-law Shirley (Gulick) Beneker. 

A private graveside service will be held in the Bagley Cemetery in Bagley, WI.  In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred.

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Private Committal

Bagley Cemetery
County Road A
Bagley, WI 53801


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