Bette C. (Runyan) Gramkow

February 12, 1933 ~ March 31, 2018 (age 85)

Gramkow, Bette C., passed away in New Smyrna Beach, FL, on March 31, 2018, at 85. Bette was born in Miami, Florida, to Cecil Runyan and Mildred Gingerich Runyan, and lived in Middleton, OH, until she returned to Miami, FL. While still in high school, she became an illustrator for the Miami Herald Fashion Section. She was offered a college scholarship by the Herald but declined for love - marrying William "Bill" L. Gramkow in July 1951. Bette and Bill, with their two young children, moved to Sanford, FL, in August 1956 and started Gramkow Funeral Home in a two-story house on 17-92 (near the “Pinecrest Inn”), which also provided ambulance services. Shortly thereafter Bette started an answering service for physicians and became pregnant with their third child. In 1960, they moved the funeral home to Airport Road, where she later became pregnant with their fourth child. In 1972 she and Carol Woodall opened the Wicker Basket Boutique in New Smyrna Beach. After selling the boutique in 1979, she went to college and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA from UCF in 1985. She and Bill eventually moved to Osteen to enjoy the country and her new-found horse hobby. When Bill passed away in 1988, she took over operating Gramkow Funeral Home. She later married Carl W. Godzeski in 1991, with whom she took up traveling and the game of golf, both in Florida and North Carolina. She retired from the funeral home business in 1998 and Carl passed away in 2009. She was a member of the Sanford Women's Club, Sanford Garden Club, Sanford Bath and Tennis Club, Bayhead Racket Club in Lake Mary, Sanford-Seminole Mutual Concert Association, Sanford Kiwanis Club, Sanford Chamber of Commerce, and Sugar Mill Country Club. She was a member of Pinecrest Baptist Church (Sunday School teacher, VB teacher and choir member), Upsala Presbyterian Church, and other churches, as well as bridge clubs and prayer groups. Bette was an artist, seamstress, renovator, cook, avid reader, golfer and music lover. There was nothing she could not do until she fought with Alzheimer’s. She will be missed by her loved ones, some of whom called her “Memommie”. Bette was predeceased by her daughter, Valerie G. Tillery (Bob). She is survived by her children: W. Douglas Gramkow of Boca Raton, FL; Catherine G. Swain (Leon) of Ormond Beach, FL; and Gay Melanie Gramkow of Aiken, SC; and her step-son, Jeffrey Godzeski (Kelly) of Indianapolis, IN. She was survived by her grandchildren: Michael Gramkow of Sanford, FL; Angela Gramkow of Jensen Beach, FL; Ragan McMeeking (Corey) of Ormond Beach, FL; and Leah Gramkow of Tallahassee, FL; her step-grandchildren in Indiana: Molly, Bayley; Joshua, Tiffany, Jacob, and Jazzmyn; and her great grandsons: Zachary Cook, Jarek Sutherland, Kai McMeeking, Reef McMeeking, and Maverick McMeeking. A service to celebrate Bette's life will be held Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at Oaklawn Memorial Park, Lake Mary, FL. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer's Foundation. Arrangements entrusted to GRAMKOW FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY 500 E. Airport Blvd. Sanford, Florida 32773 Phone (407) 322-3213

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