Bette Johns, age 99, passed away peacefully in Paola, KS, on November 9, 2020.

She was an accomplished leader, Marine, pilot, seamstress, horsewoman, canoeist, birdwatcher, and gourmet cook and a dear friend to all who knew her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Doris, and Harold Knodel. She lived in St. Louis and graduated from Soldan High School, Stephens College, and Washington University. She joined the Marines and became a Sergeant in 1944 with the intention of becoming a pilot.

She served at Cherry Point Special Services arranging activities and programs for soldiers. Among her proudest achievements was managing a women’s softball team, which never lost a game. After the war she got her commercial pilot’s license. She married Don Johns in 1951. They lived in St. Louis until 1965 when they moved to Cleveland. They also lived in Kansas City, Wea, Louisburg, St. Charles, and on the road in a Winnebago for two years. They then moved to Bette’s childhood summer home in Cranberry Lake, New York, in 1991.

She lost Don in 1998 and moved to Will Rogers in Saranac Lake in 2009 where she spent 10 happy years. She moved back to Kansas in 2019 and was cared for at her new home, Vintage Park, where she made dear friends of all the staff.

She will be greatly missed by everyone, especially family including her son, David (Cathy) Johns; daughter, Betsy (Rex) Johansen; grandsons, Matt and Brian (Ashley) Johns; great grandsons, Peyton and Hunter Johns; nieces, nephews, cousins, and many other family members.

Please celebrate her glorious life in your own way and, if you want, donate to your favorite charity in her memory. Private services will be held next summer.

To leave a special message for the family online, please visit

Arr: Dengel & Son Mortuary Paola Chapel 305 N. Pearl St. Paola, KS 66071


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