Bette M. Bushnell age 102 of Prairie du Chien passed away Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at Bluff Haven Assisted Living in Prairie du Chien. She was born on May 10, 1920, the daughter of Raymond and Mary (Edge) Rheel. She married Donald Knapp Sr. on October 10, 1942, in Oakland, CA. He preceded her in death on October 13, 1991. She then married Guerdon Bushnell in 1994, and also preceded her in death on February 4, 2011. Bette had a heart to serve her whole life, that’s who she was. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1941, she became a third-grade teacher, and her students remember her to this day. She and her first husband, Don Sr. came to Prairie du Chien and began a home furnishing business called Knapp’s Home Furnishings for over 38 years.
After their youngest daughter Lori was born with a condition called Cerebral Palsy, they became pioneers in developing the first group home in the State of Wisconsin. The purpose was to give children and adults with developmental disabilities a real home and a precious family setting where they could grow and flourish. This goal was achieved and continues today. The Lori Knapp Companies increased and are still helping people all over the state of Wisconsin. The Knapp family has been in business for over 78 years in the Prairie du Chien community.
Bette had a strong faith in God. Her ability to sing and play the organ blessed so many. After Don Sr. passed, she married their best friend, Guerdon Bushnell and moved to Louisiana where they had a church called Springs of Living Water. From here she earned a master’s degree in theology.
To her family, her warmth, love, and her prayers will be missed so very much. She was our prayer warrior. Oh, by the way, Bette’s last meal on this earth was a “Pete’s Hamburger” … her favorite!
She is survived by her sons Donald (Sandi) and Randy (Stacy) Knapp, 10 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, a son-in-law Lowell Ahrens, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, husbands, daughters, Nancy Ahrens and Lori Knapp, her brothers, Delbert and Dale Rheel.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. at the Cornerstone Foursquare Church with Pastor Mel Wild officiating, burial in the Evergreen Cemetery, both in Prairie du Chien. Friends may call at the church on Saturday, May 13, 2023, from 9:00 A.M. until the time of service. The Garrity Funeral Home of Prairie du Chien is assisting the family.
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