Betty Moore Wilson of Apple Valley died peacefully on Dec. 21, 2023, of natural causes at age 99.
She was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the daughter of a horse and cattle rancher. She grew up on the Osage Indian Reservation on land her father leased from the tribe, and rode a pony to school. She experienced and still had vivid memories of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and Pearl Harbor.
At age 19, she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma. She met her husband, Cecil Wilson, who was from Minnesota, at a USO dance during World War II. Cecil was stationed at a nearby Navy base.
Betty was a true pioneer for women in journalism. She rose from writing freelance human interest stories for the Bloomington Sun in the 1950s to covering the state Legislature and Minnesota politics for the Minneapolis Star.
She was highly respected by Democratic and Republican politicians alike for her accurate and objective reporting. While raising three sons and writing freelance articles on Minneapolis city politics for 30-some weekly newspapers, she returned to school and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota when she began her reporting for the Minneapolis Star.
Her greatest professional satisfaction was covering the last few hectic days of the state Legislature, sometimes remaining all night at the Capitol press room, and then writing an article just under the deadline wire. She also wrote a biography of Gov. Rudy Perpich.
When Betty retired from the Minneapolis Star, she enjoyed time spent with her four grandsons, trying to instill in them her appreciation for education, hard work and honesty. She loved nature and animals, particularly birds. She frequently visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which she felt is one of Minnesota’s great treasures.
She is survived by sons Rod Wilson and his wife Linda of Eden Prairie, Mark Wilson of Apple Valley, and grandsons Kent, Grant, Samuel, and Austin Wilson.
A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie at a date and time to be announced.
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