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Betty Ann (Primus) O?Brien McCormick


Betty Ann (Primus) O'Brien McCormick, 97, of Hampton, formerly of Independence, passed away on Feb. 5, 2019.
Born Elizabeth Ann Primus on Aug. 21, 1921, to Orin and Clara (Glovick) Primus of Independence, Iowa, Betty graduated from Independence High School in 1938 at the age of 16.
During World War II, Betty and her only sister, Mary Jayne, worked with a Civil Service Commission at Wright Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. After the war, Betty moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where she met first husband, F.L. (Pat) O'Brien, from Melrose, Iowa. They were married on Flag Day, June 14, 1948, in her hometown of Independence, at St. John's Catholic Church. Betty always joked that she picked Flag Day so Pat wouldn't forget their anniversaries. Sure enough, every time he saw a flag flying, he bought an anniversary card! They lived in Des Moines, Iowa, until Pat's death in 1961. They had one daughter, Julienne (Julie), born in 1954.
After Pat's death, Betty returned to Independence to be closer to her one sister, Mary Jayne Greif, and mother, Clara Primus. Betty built a home right next door to her family home along the Wapsipinicon River.
Betty had a colorful career for a woman of the 1960s. Prior to her first husband's death, Betty worked for Sen. Risk from Buchanan County as his Statehouse secretary in Des Moines. In 1964, she became the first woman in the district to run for the state Senate seat for Buchanan County. In 1965, she became the first public relations person for the Mental Health Institute in Independence, having her own radio talk show "Mental Health Is Everybody's Business." It was her passion for politics that led her to meet her second husband, Harold (Mac) McCormick of Manchester, Iowa. Betty and Mac were married Feb. 3, 1967, at St. John's Catholic Church, Independence, Iowa, and in 1969, they moved to Manchester, Iowa, as Mac was owner of McCormick Furniture there. It was Betty and Mac's shared zest for political involvement which led to many lively dinner conversations as Betty was an avid Republican and Mac a staunch Democrat.
Upon retirement from the furniture store and from politics, Betty and Mac moved to Dubuque, Iowa, where they lived and golfed until Mac's death in 2000. Due to progressive blindness caused by macular degeneration, Betty then moved to Hampton to be closer to her daughter, Julie.
Betty will best be remembered for her wonderfully large jewelry, her beautiful sense of style and her passion for politics. She never missed voting in an election. Even after her eyesight failed, she insisted on her daughter reading to her the ballot and making her mark. For many elections, Betty would thank the polling place volunteers at City Hall by sending sweet rolls and donuts from the Korner Bakery. She always insisted on getting and wearing proudly the "I Voted" sticker at each election. While living in the apartments above the Senior Center in Hampton, Betty would seek out those who loved to talk politics! Many lively lunch conversations were had at the Senior Center each weekday!
Betty is survived by daughter, Julie (O'Brien) and husband Richard Salvesen, Hampton, Iowa; one stepson, John McCormick and wife, Dawn (Courtney), La Grange Park, Ill.; one granddaughter, Kari (Salvesen) Sundt and husband, Adam; and Betty's great-grandchildren, Mia Salvesen Sundt and Kain Manion Sundt, all of Rochester, Minn.; two step-grandsons, Conor McCormick and wife, MacKenzie of Seattle, Wash., and Michael McCormick of Loveland, Colo.; and one nephew/godson, Tim Greif and wife Maryanne, Naperville, Ill.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Orin and Clara Primus; two husbands, F.L. (Pat) O'Brien and Harold (Mac) McCormick; her only sister, Mary Jayne Greif; and Mary Jayne's husband, Paul.
Private family services will be held.
Friends are encouraged to remember Betty with donations to the Hampton Senior Center or to the Franklin General Hospital Foundation in Hampton, Iowa.
Special thanks to all the staff at the Franklin Country View who cared for Betty for the many years Betty called the Country View her home.
Sietsema Vogel Funeral Home in Hampton is in charge of arrangments.
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