On Wednesday, June 10th, our wonderful wife and mother passed away in her sleep surrounded by family. Her zest for life and zippy personality are legendary, and she will be sorely missed.
Marye Elizabeth Ainsworth, otherwise known as Bettye, was born on August 9, 1931 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. She spent much of her youth in the South and especially treasured her time at a Girl Scout camp in Arkansas. As a child, she was misdiagnosed with tuberculosis and spent over a year in a hospital for children; she credited this time with ridding her of picky eating habits and cultivating her life-long interests in reading and listening to the farm report on the radio. During World War II, her mother worked as a Secretary at Camp Robinson, north of Little Rock, where a soldier taught Bettye how to play patriotic songs on the piano. In the 7th grade, she began attending Mount Saint Mary’s Academy in Little Rock where she converted to Catholicism and took piano lessons. A good student and a talented pianist, she graduated high school at 16. She went on to earn a music degree at Webster College and a Master’s in Music from Washington University in St. Louis. It is at Wash U. where Bettye met Joe Cvengros, an ex-GI who spotted her leading the bunny hop at a Newman Club dance. Theirs was a story of the deepest love that lasted 64 years and took them on travels all over the world, her favorite of which were the family’s three-week long canoeing trips into the Canadian wilderness. Bettye had enormous energy; she was a substitute teacher until she turned 80, and just recently, she was raking her own leaves. She said she stayed in shape by parking her car in the farthest spot at the grocery store and running to catch up with her husband on the way to church. Raised in the deep South during segregation, Bettye was mystified by her privilege in this world and prayed for others as a daily habit. She thanked the Lord every day and believed that the privilege of ordinary life was extraordinary. An uncommon woman who both enjoyed cooking over a campfire and playing Rachmaninoff, Bettye served the world with her music, her positive attitude, and her lively conversational style. She was deeply kind, even buying things from slow garage sales just to make the sellers feel good. Bettye is survived by her husband, Joe Cvengros, eight children --Marybeth (Shawn), Joe (Evy), Andy (Nancy), Kathy, Mike (Jane), Bob (Julie), David (Samantha), and Susie (Hugh)-- 20 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. Though she will be missed, Bettye’s vitality, silliness, and love of music live on in her children, grandchildren and all those who are familiar with her shining achievement, “The Glen Ellyn Song.”
A memorial gathering will be Wednesday, June 17th, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Leonard Memorial Funeral Home, 565 Duane St., Glen Ellyn. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed in at a time. Funeral home officials will rotate visitors through as space opens up. This will be followed by a funeral Mass at St. Petronille Catholic Church in Glen Ellyn at 10:00 AM on Thursday, June 18th.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Girl Scouts of America https://www.girlscouts.org/en/adults/donate.html
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marye "Bettye" E. Cvengros, please visit our floral store.