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Richard “Dick” Walter Betz

Updated: May 22

Richard “Dick” Walter Betz, age 88, passed away on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, IA. Dick grew up on a farm in Johnston, Iowa, the second of six children. He was blessed with a loving home and loving siblings. He graduated from Johnston High School in 1954 and chose to make his home there. Dick signed up for the National Guard as a Senior in high school, and spent 30 years serving his country, until he retired in 1984. Dick continued to work on the farm and after the guard worked in a tool and dye shop.

In 1962, Dick met and married his first wife, Sandra McMains, and from that union they had three children: Marty, Chris, and Penny. Dick was a wonderful father, and his children knew his quiet strength, his patience, and knew they had a father who they could depend upon. Chris and Penny each married, and those marriages provided Dick with four grandchildren that Dick loved very much.

Dick is survived by his wife of almost 21 years, Joyce Schafer. They dated for many years until Dick finally proposed and they were married in October of 2003. They made their home in Johnston, Iowa. With this union Dick gained two stepchildren and six step grandchildren. Dick and Joyce always had an annual bonfire, bringing both sides of the family together, to roast hot dogs and take a tractor ride. As Johnston grew, this tractor ride became a ride through subdevelopments, and we loved it.

Loving to tinker, his family and friends knew he could fix anything. He was always working in his shop often alongside his brother Ray, who was his best friend. Dick collected John Deere tractors and was a member of the Central Iowa Tractor Club, participating in dozens of tractor rides across Iowa over the years. Dick also had a servant’s heart. Not only did he serve his country, but he gave the gift of life by donating twenty-five gallons of blood throughout the years and volunteered for the Johnston Fire Department from 1963 to 2014.

Dick is survived by his current wife Joyce. His siblings, Jeannine Austin, Virginia McGinn, Judy (Dave) Bogaard, Ray (Bev) Betz, and Robert (Nancy) Betz. His children from his first marriage, Marty Betz, Paul “Chris” Betz and his wife Beth, Penny Wilson, and her husband Todd, four grandchildren (Makayla, Amanda, Matthew, and Mackenize), and eight great- grandchildren. Joyce’s children Kevin (Dawn) Schafer and their three children, and Pam Evers and her three children. Dick was preceded in death by his mother and father, Robert and Virgina Betz.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 22nd from 4 – 7 pm at the Merle Hay Chapel, 4400 Merle Hay Rd in Des Moines. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 23rd at 10:30 am at the Maranatha Baptist Church, 877 SE 19TH ST. in Grimes. The burial with Military Honors will be at the Lincoln Cemetery. Here is a link to the livestream:


Memorials may be directed to the family to support causes dear to Dick’s heart.



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