OBITUARY: Betty (Schwartz) Dick

Betty (Schwartz) Dick, 89, of Newton died peacefully on June 12, 2022, at Presbyterian Manor in Newton.

Betty was born on Oct. 8, 1932, in Ulysses, Kan., to Milton and Sadie (Wedel) Schwartz. She grew up on the family homestead just outside Pretty Prairie. She graduated from Pretty Prairie High School, then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in organ from Bethel College in 1954. As she was the only trained organist in the church, Betty was instrumental—together with her Uncle “Pete Shorty” Schwartz—in acquiring and installing the first pipe organ in the First Mennonite Church in Pretty Prairie. She was the first church organist and served in that role for many years. Family lore says that once the organ was installed and Betty played at its dedication, Uncle Pete Shorty said, “Now I can die happy since we have the organ.” The church is located on land the Schwartz family homesteaded in 1884. While at Bethel, Betty met and married her husband, Arthur Dick, M.D., in 1954 and was active in theater at Bethel and performed Handel’s Messiah on organ on more than one occasion.

Betty taught music in various schools around central Kansas, then moved to Baltimore, Md., when Art served in the U.S. Army at Edgewood Arsenal. During the posting, Betty taught elementary school music and served as the base’s chapel organist. The couple remained in Maryland for Art to complete his medical degree at the University of Maryland Medical School, moving to the Kansas suburbs of Kansas City in 1965 when Art began his medical internship at the University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City, Kan., where he later joined the Department of Neurology faculty. Betty stayed busy raising the couple’s two daughters, Amy (Dick) Morgan and Julie (Dick) Sparks, both born in the late 1960s. Betty also led the children’s choir at Village Presbyterian Church.

Betty lived most of her adult life on 68th Street in Prairie Village, only moving to Newton four years ago when her younger daughter, Julie’s, husband, Jeff Sparks, accepted the position as pastor of Newton’s St. Luke Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Betty loved her family, music, art, cats, sunflowers, and most of all, children. She taught preschool for decades—retiring only when she had reached 80. She started teaching in the early 1970s at Ward Parkway Presbyterian Preschool, spent a year teaching a music and art appreciation class for her grandsons, then taught preschool close to another decade at Colonial Presbyterian Church, the congregation she joined in the late 1980s. Generations of children can now read, write, sing and follow instructions due to her dedication and talents.

Betty was known to remember her friends’ and family members’ birthdays and special occasions with thoughtful, handwritten cards. She loved attending church and sharing fellowship with other women at Bible studies. Everyone was captivated by Betty’s bright smile and infectious laugh.

Betty was preceded in death by her father, Milton, and her mother, Sadie (Wedel).

She is survived by her husband, Arthur Dick, M.D.; daughters, Julie (Dick) Sparks (Jeff) of Newton; Amy (Dick) Morgan (Steve), of San Antonio; and two grandsons in Texas, Michael Morgan and Jack Morgan; as well as sisters, Teresa (Schwartz) Zielke of Newton, Edna Ruth (Schwartz) Kemp of Pretty Prairie, and brother, Jerold Schwartz of Denver.

A memorial service was at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 15, at Petersen Funeral Home of Newton, Kan. Online condolences may be made at

Memorial donations may be made to St. Luke Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Newton or Ward Parkway Presbyterian Preschool in Kansas City, Mo.


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