On October 22, 1942 Amanda Hilda Christine Haabala was born to Alexander Mathias Haabala and Hilda Emelia Haabala (Lander); she was the middle of three children. She was baptized in the spring of 1943 at the Finnish Apostolic Church in Moe Township and confirmed in the Christian faith in 1956 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Moe Township. She grew up on their family farm south of Brandon, MN in a Finnish community. She attended country school for four years and graduated from Brandon High School in 1960 as Valedictorian of her class. After high school, she moved to the Twin Cities to pursue a career in nursing. She applied and had been accepted to Swedish Hospital but decided to work a year before starting nursing school. She was hired as a legal secretary at a small law firm in the Twin Cities and enjoyed her job immensely. She ended up working there for three years and dismissed the idea of becoming a nurse. While in the Twin Cities, Hilda began dating Will Bettermann and they married in November of 1962. After the birth of their first child, Cynthia Marie, they decided to move back to the Brandon area to raise their daughter. They purchased a 70-acre farm where they raised crops, vegetables and milked cows until 1972. During this time they had another child, Randall Lee.
After selling their farm, they built their home in the woods near Big Chippewa Lake, NE of Brandon. Hilda worked for Swenson, Grover, Lervick Law Firm until 1981, when she and Will purchased a variety store in Brandon which they operated for a couple of years. During this time Hilda was also teaching legal secretarial, business, Intro to Computers and Accounting part-time (and eventually full-time) at Alexandria Technical and Community College. She ended her career at ATCC as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
In 1990 Hilda ran for the Minnesota House Of Representatives and served 4 terms from 1991 – 1998. She was Assistant House Minority Leader for 5 of those years. She also served 8 years on the State Board of Medical Practice, 7 years on the Campaign Finance and Ethics Board, 3 terms from 2000 – 2009 on the Douglas County Hospital Board and multiple years on the Brandon History Center Board.
During their 60 years of marriage, Hilda and Will loved to travel with friends and family. They travelled to 45 of the 50 states and to Europe three times. They also travelled thousands of miles to attend sporting events, concerts, plays, and other activities that their grandchildren participated in. Hilda also loved to watch the MN Twins, read, play games, garden, and tell her grandkids stories (especially about frogs). She was a wonderful cook and baker and will be remembered for her scalloped potatoes, wild rice soup, taco salad, blueberry pies and peanut butter balls.
She had a very strong faith and was very active in the Lutheran church throughout her married life. She was the choir director, led Bible studies, participated in various church women’s groups, and LWML. After retirement, Hilda and Will practiced daily devotions together every morning in their home.
Hilda passed away on January 28, 2023 at Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Alexandria, MN. She was preceded in death by her parents Alex & Emily Haabala, brothers Charlie & Robert Haabala and numerous brothers-in-law & sisters-in-law and three nephews. She is survived by her husband Will Bettermann of Alexandria, MN; daughter Cindy & husband Chad Frederick of Westport, MN; son Randy & wife Stacey Bettermann of Brandon, MN; 8 grandchildren: Mandy (Jason) Jerde, Jacob (Ashley) Frederick, Jordan (Madison) Frederick, Kristine Bettermann, Jeremiah (Miranda) Bettermann, MaKayla Schiele, Elizabeth Schiele, Keagan Schiele; great grandchildren: Alexander Jerde, HéKhani Bettermann, Elowynn Dickerson, Parker Barrow-Frederick, Devin Kaeding, Logan Kaeding, Hunter Kaeding, KayLynne Peaslee.
Visitation will be held on Thurs, Feb. 9th, 4:00 – 7:00 PM at the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria with Prayer Service at 6:30 PM. Visitation will continue on Fri. Feb 10th, 10:30 – 11:30 AM at Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria with Funeral Service at 11:30 AM. Burial at St. John’s Cemetery in Garfield.