FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Betty Duda Called Home to Jesus
ST. LOUIS, December 26, 2016 — The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) announced the death of Past President Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Duda on the morning of December 24, 2016.
Betty was International LWML President from 1987–1991. She also served her Lord as the LWML Florida-Georgia District President and ILWML mission projects director. She determined early in her term that everything would be done for only one reason — to glorify the Lord. Secondly, she wanted the LWML to become a stronger faith and service organization that would attract and better represent all Lutheran women.
She served as president of many groups, including being the first woman elected to the board of Concordia University, Bronxville, New York, where she served as chairman for five years. She also completed terms as chair with Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots, the Junior League of Orlando, Loch Haven Art Center, Civic Theater, Community Coordinated Childcare, and Central Florida Zoo.
Her service on numerous boards included: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod; Concordia University, Chicago; Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota; Wheat Ridge Foundation; Aid Association for Lutherans; POBLO (People of the Book Lutheran Outreach); Mill Neck Manor; Reedy Creek Improvement District (Disney World); Winter Park Hospital; Rollins College; Sun Bank of Seminole; University of Florida Foundation; YMCA; Christian Service Center.
At the Lutheran Hour Ministry 100th Anniversary celebration in October of 2016, Betty reminisced with a woman from Alaska about a dogsled ride back in 1990. Betty had been a representative at a Discipling Woman Seminar in Anchorage, and the women of the zone planned a surprise ride with a dogsled team that had run the famous Iditarod race. Remembering that event brought a smile to Betty’s face and twinkle in her eye as she laughingly said, “That was fun!”
Years ago when interviewed with other LWML past presidents for an article in a Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly, Betty emphasized LWML’s theme by saying, “When we talk about serving the Lord with gladness — and I always add “and joy” — that’s how it is in the LWML. We are a mission organization. We’re dedicated to the Great Commission. When you are doing that, you are developing leadership.”
Many will remember Betty not only for her inspiring leadership, but also for her humble service as evidenced by the foot washing she and other officers performed for all the attendees at the 1988 Assembly of Leaders. Betty said, “My greatest obstacle over the years has been convincing people that I just wanted to serve the Lord. I had no agenda, no political motivation at all. Everything I’ve done is to serve.”
President Ross emphasized Betty Duda truly was a celebrating servant. “We are sad to lose such a great sister in Christ, yet we are joyful as we think of Betty with Jesus celebrating His birth on Christmas Eve and Day.”
Betty is survived by her husband: John L. Duda; five daughters: Elizabeth Wareham, Linda Nichols, Pam Jovaag, Leslie Schnake, and Jenny LaGrange; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and one sister: Mary Lou Nash. Betty was predeceased by a daughter, Janet.
A funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, December 27, at 10 a.m. at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Oviedo, Florida.
Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) is the official women's auxiliary of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, the LWML has focused on affirming each woman's relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries, and to support global missions. —
LWML news releases are available on the LWML website.
Contact: Carol von Soosten
Public Relations Director
Lutheran Women's Missionary League
3558 S. Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118-3910