Elizabeth (Bettie) Jeresek Raciti went to the Lord on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, the day that celebrates Jesus’s glorious resurrection. She died peacefully in her sleep, at the age of 95, surrounded by her loving son, Randy and daughter-in-law, Tami.
Bettie was born on April 8, 1925 in Winona, MN, to Sig and Sally Jeresek, the second of four children. She graduated in 1943 from Cathedral High School in Winona. She moved to Chicago where she met the love of her life, Don Raciti, at a dance studio. Both were professional ballroom dance instructors and shared a passion and talent for teaching dance. They married and moved back to Winona where they raised a family of six amazing children. They continued to share their talents by giving dance lessons to friends and community members.
Bettie worked at Nash’s Clothing Store in Winona, owned by her father, Sig Jeresek and Lyle’s Carpeting of Winona where she used her natural talents of interior design.
Bettie was absolutely devoted to her family and had a unique and special relationship with each and everyone of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews. One of Bettie’s great joys in life was spending time with family including taking care of grandchildren, bike rides, walks around Lake Winona, trips to Bloedow’s, family gatherings, road trips, shopping adventures, playing cards and games and making her world-famous spaghetti, lasagna, cheesy eggs, “pink stuff” and homemade fudge.
She was a devout Catholic, a member first at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and later St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Winona, attending daily Masses, volunteering at church and the Catholic schools, praying the rosary, participating in Bible studies and teaching religion classes. Her deep faith belief was at the core of who she was, and she instilled this faith belief in all her family.
Bettie’s smile “lit up a room” and her laughter was infectious. She was always known for “dressing to the nines”. She had a way of making each person she interacted with feel special with a personalized compliment, whether it was a long-time friend or a person she just met at the store.
She greatly enjoyed and cherished her lifelong and dear friends, traveling, sharing meals, coffee, tears, laughter and celebrations.
One of Bettie’s many life lessons she told her children and grandchildren was to “have friends who are 10 years younger than you, to keep you young and hopefully you will be the first to go!”
Bettie is lovingly survived by her children, M. J. Raciti, Terri Raciti Teeson (Jerry), Randy Raciti (Tami), Lisa Raciti (Johnny) and Stacey Buchanan, grandchildren Jenny Teeson, Sarah Keenan (Matt), Monica, Dominic, Maria, Catherine, Ana and Lucia Raciti, Jake and Trevor Buchanan, great-grandchildren Sadie and Lucas (Teeson), sister Carole Gardner, sisters-in-law Mary Schoop and Joann Allanmeyer, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her best friend and husband, Don, beloved son Rick Raciti, parents Sig and Sally Jeresek, brother James Jeresek (Irene), sister Mary Jean Jeresek, son-in-law Bruce Bugajski, brothers-in-law Paul Gardner and Vic Schoop, nephew Geoff Gardner, cousin Paulette Jeresek and other family members.
Due to the current pandemic, a private family Mass and Burial took place. A joyous celebration of her life will be announced and held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, plants or trees, the family respectfully requests memorials be sent to The Hermits of Mary of Mount Carmel, 33005 Stinson Road, Houston, MN 55943 or Restored Blessings, 1213 Gilmore Avenue, Winona, MN 55987.
The family sincerely thanks the incredible staff at Callista Court and Ave Maria, who gave such loving care to our mom and a special thank you to the staff at Gundersen Hospital who helped our family walk through end-of-life care for our mom. We are forever grateful for your compassion, kindness and caring.
While she will be deeply missed, her inspiring legacy will continue to live on through all of us whom she touched. We know that Bettie and Don are “dancing up a storm” in Heaven, surrounded by loved ones!
Online condolences or memories may be left for Bettie’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.