Cover photo for Betty Jane Cleary's Obituary
Betty Jane Cleary Profile Photo
1928 Betty Jane 2012

Betty Jane Cleary

March 21, 1928 — July 22, 2012

Betty Jane Cleary, 84, of Rockford passed away Sunday, July 22, 2012 in OSF St. Anthony Medical Center.nbsp; She was born March 21, 1928 in Chicago, the daughter of Clifford and Elizabeth Lane, nee Rippinger.nbsp; She married Roy Cleary in Chicago on June 19, 1948.nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Her careernbsp;asnbsp;anbsp;mother began in 1949 with the birth of their firstnbsp; child Peg. Shenbsp;excelled in her new life asnbsp;a mother to her four children,nbsp;and set the standardnbsp;as a role modelnbsp;and mentor to her children and grandchildren.


When it came time to get her children through college, she embarked on anbsp;new career, working as administrative assistant to the guidance department at Boylan High School. During her 27 years at the school, she was instrumental in the development of nbsp;thousands of students until retiring in 1993.nbsp; After Roy died in 1979, she channeled his spirit and meldednbsp;it with her own and set out to make a difference through public service.
Shenbsp;was elected tonbsp;a seat on the Winnebago County Board in1988 and served District 7 until 1992.
In 1993 she was electednbsp;to represent the 9th ward on the Rockford City Council. Wanting to spend more time with hernbsp;grandchildren, she nbsp;chose not to seek reelection in 1997.nbsp; However, her public service was far from complete. She served on the board of Rockford Diocese Catholic Charities,nbsp;Head Start andnbsp;Rockford Human Services. She became a master puppeteer with B.A.B.E.S and delivered for Meals On Wheels.nbsp;She was a member of the 9th Ward Democratic Club, Winnebago County Democratic Central Committee and Cochair of State Representative Chuck Jeffersons Election Committee. Her lifelong passions included many other organizations.
In the 50s and 60s she was active in the Rockford Catholic Youth Organization and a Girl Scout Leader, chairing the cookie committee. She was a member ofnbsp;St. Bernadette Church, the Knights of Columbus Auxiliary,nbsp;St. Joseph Chapter ofnbsp;NAIM, Ladies of St. Bernadette and Senior Association of St. Bernadette Church.nbsp;

Survivors include daughters, Peg (Paul) Macek of Davenport, Iowa, Jeanne Cleary (Greg Larson) of Loves Park and Janet Salisbury of Chicago, son, Michael (Carrie) Cleary of Rockford, grandchildren, Erin (Joe) Weber, Katie (Justin) Choate, Sean Cleary and Hunter Salisbury, nbsp;great grandchildren, Cleary Elizabeth and Greyson Choate,nbsp;nbsp;sisterinlaws, Doreen Trunnelle of Janesville, Dorothy Evitt of Rockford, Lorraine Lane of Fountain Hills, AZ and Kathy (Tony) Cooperider of Longwood, FL,nbsp;and several nieces and nephews.nbsp; She was predeceased by her parents, Husband Roy, grandson, Ryan andnbsp;two brothers, Edward and Raymond Lane.nbsp; The family would like to thank the staff of Provena Cor Mariae and OSF St. Anthony Medical Center.

Mass of Christian Burial isnbsp;10am Friday, July 27, 2012 in St. Bernadette Church, 2400 Bell Avenue, Rockford andnbsp;burial in Calvary Cemetery.nbsp; Visitation is from 4pm until 8pm Thursday in Fitzgerald Funeral Home, 3910 North Rockton Ave., with rosary at 8pm.nbsp; Visitation is also from 9 until 9:45 Friday in the church.nbsp; In lieu of flowers, memorials to Boylannbsp;Foundationnbsp;and St. Bernadette Church.

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