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Memorial Mass today for Elizabeth Jean Bina, 95, of West Bend

November 10, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Irish Writer, Poet and Songstress Elizabeth Jean Bina Overby Bennett McMahon has passed from The Old Sod on Nov. 2, 2021.

Elizabeth Jean Bina


Born to George and Inez Overby in 1926, “Betty,” “Bets” Bina lived a full life. Student Athlete and Scholar as a Menasha High School Blue Jay Back in the Day, Betty loved swimming best, but also excelled in golf, field hockey – anything with a scorecard.

From Menasha, Betty went on to become the first in her family to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree from The University of Wisconsin – Madison. Somewhere up on Bascom Hill one day she met – and later married in 1949 – a fine lad Joseph Bina.

“Bets and Joe” were an item for 72 years. Blessed with three children: Barb Morrison (Doug), Michael Bina (Danielle), and Diane Vetter (James), plus four beloved grandchildren: Katherine Cibich (Dan); Emily Vetter; Joey Bina and Mikhail Bina, the “kids” meant the world to Bets. Happily, everyone grew up fairly close by, and Betty loved being part of all the parties, achievements and holidays her family celebrated. It was the best of times.

The Unofficial Chronicler of these storied times, Betty was a prolific writer. If she hadn’t been a full-time mom, she would have been a Pulitzer Prize-winning beat writer at the Journal/Sentinel; or a best-selling author, or an award-winning copywriter at an advertising agency in New York City.

She would have been an excellent editor, too. NO typo or grammatical error could sneak past her watchful red pen. Christmas Thank You Notes were not mailed without The Editor in Chief’s thorough review.

She put her exceptional writing skills to good use. Every, single, day, was another excuse to exercise her extensive grasp of the Mother Tongue and put forth on parchment – or some special stationery in her exquisite cursive. Not only was her work well worded, it was beautiful, too.

Betty recorded gobs of family history on pages and pages of prose in millions of Cards, Letters, Thank You Notes – even the embarrassing little Lunch Box Letters she packed every day for her kids – and their friends – to read over lunch at school. Her poetic, individualized birthday cards were works of art. The grandkids could hardly wait for their birthdays to come around.

When not actually composing something, she always had a story – or three – in the hopper that needed further wordsmithing and her full attention before the deadline arrived. Her home “office” was quite a sight with newspaper clippings, and cartoons, and half-written ideas and special correspondence from family, friends and other fellow writers. When she wasn’t writing, she was reading. She always had a couple books going all the time – with bunches more stacked in the queue. She was a sucker for a good story.

Cedar Lofts

She felt the same about songs; She was always singing. If Betty didn’t have a song on her lips, she had one in her heart. She loved all kinds of music; sang all kinds of songs. No matter the occasion, it seemed Betty had a song.

Arthritic hands and uncooperative fingers eventually slowed her output. Even though she was upset with the quality of her formerly perfect cursive, she still kept writing; composing, thinking, and planning the next birthday poem as if the grandkids birthday was tomorrow.

Betty made many friends around the world. Reserved in public (she grew up in the Depression for crying out loud), Betty was never shy about meeting people. No matter the setting or scene, Betty rarely held back from striking up a conversation with just about anyone. Not at all a busy body, Betty just loved talking to people; she loved finding out where they’re from; where they’ve been, and perhaps where they’re going. If she happened upon someone with an Irish surname, they’d talk ‘till she figured out how they were related.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12 p.m. on Wednesday November 10 at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 138 N Eighth Ave., West Bend with Rev. Howard Haase presiding. Visitation will be at the church on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.

In lieu of Flowers, a contribution of time or treasure to YOUR favorite organization in Betty’s name would be most appreciated.

Betty’s family would like to extend many thanks to the caring staff at the Waterford of West Bend and the Preceptor Home Health and Hospice.

“May the road rise to meet you; May the wind be always at your back; May the sun shine warm upon your face…‘Til we meet again.”


obituary, phillip funeral home

The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family.

(262) 338-2050 / www.phillipfuneralhome.com


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