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Betsy Lou Briere

March 27, 1941 January 1, 2021
Betsy Lou Briere
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Obituary for Betsy Lou Briere

Betsy Lou Briere nee Edgar, 79, of Oak Park, Illinois, formerly of Battle Creek, Michigan passed away on January 1, 2021 at Belmont Village in Oak Park, Illinois.

Betsy was born on March 27, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan, to William and Evelyn (Rose) Edgar.

Betsy studied music at Western Michigan University, earning a master’s degree in vocal performance. She was an accomplished singer and private voice teacher, and many of her former students remained long-time friends.

In mid-life, she started a new career as a financial planner. Though it was far outside of her comfort zone, she thrived in the role, driven by her genuine caring for people and their stories.

Betsy was passionate about the natural world. She maintained her involvement with Miller Woods, a nature sanctuary close to where she grew up in Plymouth, Michigan. She was an avid bird watcher and gardener, though she had strong opinions on the interference of squirrels and deer, who would munch on her wildflower plantings.

She was deeply committed to her community, and to social justice. She was never one to shy away from a heated discussion on the causes she cared about, and was always open to opportunities to engage and contribute, which she did generously, in both time and treasure.

With her late husband Rob, Betsy travelled throughout the country, and had hiked in most of the National Parks before physical limitations prevented them from visiting every one on the list.

Betsy moved to Oak Park early in 2020 to be close to her son Kelly’s family. The pandemic locked her in her apartment in her community shortly after the move, but she formed a steady routine of video calls with family, and staved off potential isolation by staying connected.

Though she remained safe for almost the whole year, she tested positive in early December, and ultimately passed away an hour into the new year.

Betsy is survived by her loving children Kelly (Anna) Clissold and Brian (Abbi) Clissold; her step-son, Sid Briere; her grandchildren: Edward and Vaughn Clissold; Madeline, Charlotte, and Brennan Clissold; and Miles and Mason Briere; her sister, Bonnie McIvor; and her niece, June (Duane Hall) McIvor and nephew Michael (Mercedes García-Ayuso) McIvor. Betsy was preceded in death by her parents, and her husband A. Robert Briere, who passed away on October 22, 2016.

A private funeral was held on January 5 in Oak Park, with interment occurring on January 7 at Memorial Park in Battle Creek. Local arrangements were entrusted to Drechsler, Brown, and Williams of Oak Park. A memorial service is planned for later in the year, when it’s safe to gather. Please visit to sign the on-line guestbook or to leave the family condolences.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Battle Creek Community Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan (

To plant a tree in memory of Betsy Lou Briere, visit the Tribute Store.

Memorial Contribution

Battle Creek Community Foundation

32 West Michigan Avenue, Suite 1
Battle Creek, MI 49017

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