It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Betsy left this plane of existence on Wednesday, May 25th after a long and courageous struggle with kidney disease. She was such a bright light in so many lives—it feels like the world was truly a better place for having her in it. Please remember her with a smile on your face and a spring in your step, for we know that’s how she would want it.
Elizabeth Dodge Casler was born December 1, 1941 in New Jersey, where she also grew up. Three years after her father was transferred to Kansas City in 1958, Betsy eventually met Mark Vinz, whose father had also been transferred there. On January 30, 1965 they were married and lived the next 3 ½ years in Lawrence, Kansas and Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she also worked while her husband finished graduate school. In 1968 they moved to Moorhead, Minnesota, where Mark had accepted a position in the Moorhead State College English department. Their daughters Katie and Sarah were born and grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
Betsy attended Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, the University of Kansas, and Moorhead State University, where she earned a BA in American Studies—“the 26 year plan to graduation,” as she was fond of calling it.
Aside from three years in the late 1970s when she worked for Plains Distribution Service, a distributor of work by Midwestern authors and small presses, Betsy stayed at home raising her daughters. She also served on several city committees, such as the Moorhead Citizens Advisory Committee, and was active in city politics and the League of Women Voters. She was also a member of the Moorhead Library Board for several years, including terms as its chair, as well as acting YWCA director for one year.
Betsy was truly a wonderful mother and spouse, and a person known for
her kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. She was fond of reading, quilting and patchwork, writing, travel, photography, and communicating with her many friends. She is survived by her husband Mark, daughters Katie (Todd) and Sarah (John), her brother Jim Casler (Waldorf, Maryland), and her sister-in-law Camilla Wilson (Wichita, Kansas).
It was among her final wishes not to have a memorial service—only that those she was close to continue to hold her in their hearts.