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Burt and Betty Dyson

Burt Dyson

March 21, 1922 – April 25, 1996

John and I remember Betty and Burt as Guardian colleagues in the Chicago Region when we were in 5th City a 2nd time… around Town Meeting days.  I was newly assigned to the finance office replacing a very competent Claire Whitney and Betty came in once a week to assist me. She was very familiar with bookkeeping for non-profits. I remember one of their younger sons was in my Ecclesiola one summer program in the Kemper Building. So thankful that Beret and Paul will be able to attend the memorial for this dear woman. Please convey my condolences to him.


One of the memories that stand out for me is the prolific writing that Burt and Betty did about community building matters, drawing upon their wide experience in other parts of the world. They were one of the early publishers in our community.  Check out their book Neighborhood Caretaker Stories in the Archives.   I do not remember that I ever heard of Betty being a missionary kid from India, so was delighted for that connection from the article below.  Now that I am in my 80’s, I am recalling all the writing they did about Elder Care and the training they proposed for educating young people to be Certified Nursing Assistants, in something like a Training Inc. program.


Betty was one of the ones who began pushing environmental concerns into our work.  Through a newsletter that she edited, (something like North American Alliance for…. NAA…), we were early introduced to the work of Jim Berry, brother to Thomas Berry and Margaret Berry with whom we became very familiar when we moved to Greensboro.   Betty and Burt were generous contributors to our work in 5th City and as far as I know throughout the years.  I enjoyed an occasional phone visit with her on various financial campaigns.  I  especially appreciated her reporting about her presence at Thomas Berry’s Riverside Church memorial.


We celebrate the life and service of both Burt and Betty Dyson, colleagues on the way.  Indeed an amazing couple. With gratitude,

         ~~  Lynda and John Cock



Betty Dyson

March 2, 1924 – June 8, 2023

Memorial Service Link



Elizabeth (Betty) Dyson passed away at the age of 99 at the Episcopal Homes in St. Paul, Minnesota. Betty was born in Miraj, India, where her parents were Presbyterian missionaries. She attended Kodaikanal International School in Tamal Nadu and Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She received her BA from Bryn Mawr College in 1945. In July 1946, Betty married Burt Dyson in Philadelphia. Together with her family, Betty lived and worked in many places: Iran, Lebanon, Philadelphia, central Wisconsin, Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, Indianapolis and St. Paul.


Wherever she was Betty engaged with the community. She was active in the League of Women Voters. Beginning in 1970, she was involved with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, an organization embracing modern Christian theology and focusing on community development. In 1987 Betty became interested in the intersection of Christianity and ecology, and this remained her focus for the rest of her life. Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Burt, her parents and siblings.


She is survived by her children and their spouses – Peter (Susan) Dyson, David Dyson and Susanne Hollingsworth, Katherine (Robert) Roseth, Frank Dyson, and Deborah Dyson, her grandchildren and their spouses – Will Dyson and Valerie Blassey, Katherine Dyson and Nick Perl, Heather (Matthew) Williamson, Mark Dyson and Edyn Jessup, and Ben (Viviana Venegas) Roseth, six great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and many friends around the world. In lieu of flowers, consider a gift to the Episcopal Homes Foundation or an environmental organization of your choice.




Dear colleagues, How lovely it is to read this tribute to Betty. 🙏👋👋  I remember her well. She made such an impression on me in the 70’s as did her husband Burt. What a wonderful way we have of remembering the saints, who travelled the Long March Of Care with us .. my heart is filled with gratitude at this moment. A week does not pass  by that I don’t have a flash of Canó Negro, or Sudtonggan or Marquette, Michigan or Lorne  de L’Acadie … or the Atlanta Town Meeting: set in a School, teaming up with Larry Ward… Gratitude and peace,

          ~~  Isobel Bishop


Betty, my India-born friend! I shall miss her tremendously! We became friends 25 years ago, here in St. Paul, when my son was a student at Macalester. Her love for her birth country never left her. She always spoke lovingly and had lovely memories of her childhood in India. She loved visiting India. We considered her a part of our extended family and she would often remind me of Diwali or Holi, two of India’s favorite festivals. And would visit us on these days. She loved Khadi (an Indian yogurt dish) and Bhajiyas( vegetable fritters), which I made for her. Her afternoon tea and biscuits were an Indian habit. She was very proud of her kids and grandkids and spoke proudly about their accomplishments. She never spoke about her own academic accomplishments!!  Her twinkling eyes, soft smile, her willingness to share her knowledge and experiences, taught me a lot. But most of all her zest for life and never ever giving up easily will forever live with me.  I shall miss you dear Betty.  Rest in peace,

          ~~ Nandita Ray



Neighborhood Caretakers:  Stories, strategies and tools for healing urban community, by Burton Dyson, MD, and Elizabeth Dyson, MBA (1989)