Betty’s life began December 2, 1943, in Hayti, Missouri. She spent her childhood in Missouri eventually moving to Michigan. Betty worked for several years as a security guard at Cook Nuclear Plant. She also worked as a sand tech for Manley Brothers and she worked for several area gas stations. Outside of these employment opportunities her favorite “Job” was being the corn and pumpkin lady. Every year families looked forward to her road side stand to delicious corn but mostly for Betty’s smiling face and great conversation.
Outside of work Betty enjoyed getting lost in a good book, trying her luck at bingo or the casino, or playing cards with her family. She also enjoyed bowling and won a Family Twosome Tournament one time with her son when he was a child.
Her greatest love was her family which includes; her husband of almost 30 years Gary Zilke; two children Jim (Julie) Gaytan and Patty Parks (Steve Cordell); three step-children Michelle (Robert) Tahaney, Joel Zilke, and Eric Zilke; two grandchildren Kristi Parks And George Anthony Parks Jr; seven step-grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; one great great grandchild; three siblings Pat Isbell, Robbie (Esther) Smith, and Doug Smith; and several nieces and nephews.
Betty died Friday, April 22, 2022, at home surrounded by family. Her parents Roy and Jackie Ivy (Hooper) Smith, a brother-in-law Walt Isbell and a sister-in-law Nora Smith precede Betty in death. Cremation has already taken place, however friends may visit with Betty’s family Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet. Memorials may be made in Betty’s memory to Free Methodist Church Food Bank, Berrien County Animal Control, or Caring Circle Hospice. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Betty’s family
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Jean (Smith) Zilke, please visit our floral store.
Caring Circle Hospice
4025 Health Park Lane, St. Joseph MI 49085
Watervliet Free Methodist Church Food Pantry
7734 Paw Paw Avenue, Watervliet MI 49098
Al-Van Humane Society
P.O. Box 421, South Haven MI 49090