Elizabeth “Betty” Torkildson, 97


Betty, daughter of Martin and Helen (Engman) Piersol, was born December 7, 1918 near Spirit Mound in Clay County, SD.

She graduated from Vermillion High School in 1936.

Betty was blessed with a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice and graduated from University of South Dakota in 1940 with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts.

Pi Beta Phi Sorority house and sisters were a big part of her college life.

After graduation she taught in Viborg and Beresford, SD.

Betty married Bob, her handsome farm boy, turned Navy Captain, form Lake City, SD in Portsmouth, VA, November 24, 1942.

Three months later Bob started his WWII Navy tour in the South Pacific.

Betty moved to Minneapolis, MN where she worked for the University of Minnesota Band Office.

Betty and Bob were reunited after the war and settled in Norfolk, VA, where their four children were born.

Missing their Midwestern roots, they moved back to South Dakota in 1953.

With her gift of a beautiful voice, Betty sang solos for weddings and funerals for many years. Her favorite song was Ave Maria.

Betty was a longtime member of St. Mary Catholic Church, St. Mary Altar Society, Catholic Literary and Catholic Daughters.

She served as choir director of Baptist Church in Vermillion. Betty participated in USD Orchestra, USD Choir soloist, Community Choir in Minneapolis, MN, Symphony Choir in Norfolk, VA, Bach Society Choir, American Legion Choir and St. Mary Choir in Sioux Falls.

Betty loved her family and so enjoyed visits and phone calls from her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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