Was born at home February 17, 1924, the first child to Bertrom and Mary McCauley, in Birtle Manitoba.
As a young child, the family headed for Saskatchewan in a horse drawn wagon leading the milk cow behind. The family started farming at New Osgoode, Sask. but later moved to homestead near Carrot River. They didn’t have a lot of money but she spoke fondly of those years, her childhood buddies, friendships that remained true for a lifetime and a favorite horse named Queenie. The family kept growing with 3 brothers and 9 sisters added. In the winter, an enclosed horse drawn sleigh with a wood stove would pick them up and take them off to school. There were automobiles around but few could afford them. The family suffered hard times when their house burned to the ground and later all the work horses took ill and died. She remembered it being a very sad time but that they carried on. When she was 16 she left home to work as a house keeper. She never lived at home again.
Her future husband, Rene Betemps also grew up in Carrot River but had left during the Depression to ride the rails and look for work. He joined the Army in World War II and then moved to Vancouver when the war had ended. It was on a trip home to Carrot River that he proposed. At age 24, she married and they started their life together in Vancouver. With two children arrived, Rene worried another Depression would hit and was anxious to leave the city. He had heard about homestead parcels on Francois Lake and applied. They loaded all their belongings into a 1932 International pickup and headed for Southbank. The last pavement was leaving Chilliwack. Kay liked the idea of leaving Vancouver but did notice that they were passing a lot of good farm land on the long drive north. What waited in Southbank was 126 acres of bush, all trees, brush and deadfall.
They started farming right away; clearing the first 15 acres with only hand tools. Eventually their hard work turned the raw land into a home. They also added 7 more children over those years.
Kay worked very hard milking cows, canning, cooking, baking, sewing and knitting for her family. A few years ago when her old wood cook stove was moved out to be replaced with a electric range, the family calculated that she had cooked over 70,000 meals and baked over 30,000 loaves of bread on that cook stove.
Kay also made time to support different charities. She belonged to Amnesty International, writing letters to help free political prisoners and belonged to the Southside Women’s Institute, doing charitable work.
In her 60’s, Kay decided she wanted her drivers licence and got it. She took up snowshoeing and cross country skiing, which she loved. She wrote poetry, learned to paint, took up photography and gardened. A favorite time was a trip to her family’s home land of Ireland and Scotland with a visit to England.
In her later years she suffered from renal failure and its many painful side effects but rarely ever complained. She preferred to notice how nice a day it was. She died July 5, 2010 of pneumonia.
Her father, mother, brother Mac and 4 sisters Velma, Helen, June and Rose have passed on. She is survived by 2 brothers, Jim (Susan) and Bill (Gerlinde) McCauley and 5 sisters, Mryt (Ken) Howe, Phyllis (George) Herman, Hope Mattice, Jenny Grose and Faye Adams. Her husband Rene passed away in 2005. She is survived by 9 children: George Betemps, Dolores (Bill) Storness-Bliss, Janet (Ken) Ward, Lorna (Ken) Guenter, Ed (Lorena) Betemps, Marie (Bruce) Kerr, Ray (Kristina) Betemps, Rena (Murray) Betemps, Garry Betemps.14 Grandchildren: Lisa Clarke, Nathan (Tara) Storness Bliss, Sheena (Chris) Deme, Sherri Storness Bliss, Andy (Laura) Ward, Kevin (Terrie) Guenter, Taryl Guenter, Travis, Rene, David Betemps and Felicia, Katie, Nina and Kalli Betemps.
6 Great Grand children: Trevor, Justin and Brenton Reneau, Austin Ward, Serenity Storness Bliss and Theodore Guenter.
She was much loved and is missed by all of her family.