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James Betke, 78

Attorney, First Presbyterian elder

October 2nd, 2018 11:19 AM

James E. Betke, 78, a 35-year resident of Oak Park, died at home on Oct. 1, 2018. After graduating from Hope College, he moved on to the University of Chicago where he earned degrees in Psychology (1963) and a Juris Doctor in 1966. After 35 years at the law firm McDermott, Will and Emery, he went into private practice for 15 years, retiring in 2016.

A member of First Presbyterian Church of River Forest, where he sang in the choir and served as an elder, he was a past president of the River Forest Tennis Club and served on the board of Wednesday Journal. He was also the number one spectator and bleacher coach during his children and grandchildren's athletic careers.

Jim Betke was the husband of Maryellen (nee Stoops); the father of Todd (Michele Gelfand) Betke, Kevin (Kim) Betke, Kyle Betke, and Kendra (Cory) Olson; the grandfather of Jeanette, Jillian, Megan, Hannah, and a granddaughter to be born in February; the son of the late Carl and Helen Betke; the brother of Jan (the late Bob) Ryder, Jon (Martha) Betke, and Robin (Mark) Burford; and the uncle of many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of River Forest, 7551 Quick Ave. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to First Presbyterian Church of River Forest or the Helen Betke Memorial Music Fund at Hope College Development Services, attn: Harvey Koedyker, P.O. Box 9000, Holland, MI 49422-9904.

Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park.