Betty B. and James E. Wise - In Loving Memory

Betty B. and James E.  Wise
Betty B. and James E. Wise


Des Moines - Betty Wise
Betty Bartholow Wise, 94, passed away on March 5, 2021 at home at Scottish Rite Park in Des Moines, Iowa. Born on January 17, 1927 to Harriett L. and Orville R. Bartholow in Indianola, Betty also lived in Corning and Perry before moving to Des Moines in 1943.
Betty attended North High School where she met her husband, Jim. They were high school sweethearts, graduating in 1945 and marrying on May 29, 1949. They were a couple for 75 years and married for nearly 72.
After high school, Betty joined The Travelers Insurance Company and assumed increasing responsibilities as the company grew. She was also diligent in her support of Jim as he pursued advanced degrees in his chosen field of education.
Betty was passionate about making a difference in the community and was deeply invested in serving those who needed it most. She was president of the Des Moines Area Religious Council and served on the Homes of Oakridge board of directors during times of intense political, cultural and social unrest. She had a gift for listening and leading, finding common ground and successfully navigating difficult times and change. She was also actively involved in PTA - first, at the local level, followed by leadership roles on the state and national boards of directors.
In 1975, Betty began a 30-year career as a legislative secretary in the Iowa Senate, supporting both majority and minority leadership. In 1977, Betty and Jim became actively involved in Friendship Force International. They were fully committed to the organization’s mission: A World of Friends is a World of Peace.
Betty loved her family dearly and was a devoted wife, mother, grandma and “Gaga” to six great grandchildren. She cherished each and every one of the special times spent together including multi-generational lake vacations; traditional holiday celebrations, where she had a gift for serving the most beautiful meals prepared to perfection; and the pool parties she hosted at Scottish Rite Park to celebrate special milestones or just watch her family have fun. She loved to sew and crochet, making beautiful clothes and blankets and even winning a blue ribbon or two at the Iowa State Fair for her lovely designs.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Carol Ann.
Des Moines - James Wise
James Edward Wise, 93, was born on September 26, 1927 in Morrison, Illinois and passed away peacefully at home at Scottish Rite Park in Des Moines on March 10, 2021. Jim and his family moved to Des Moines in 1929. He attended Des Moines public schools, graduating from North High School in 1945.
Jim interrupted his studies at Drake University in 1946 to enter the Regular Army and served in Japan. Upon his discharge, he returned to Drake, completing two degrees. He continued his studies for his Ed. D. at Northern Colorado State University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Jim married the love of his life, "Betty B.," in 1949.
The Des Moines Public School District was Jim’s one full-time employer over a career that spanned 55 years. He taught at Hubbell and Douglas elementary schools and was principal at Douglas, McKee and Windsor elementary schools prior to serving in the district’s central offices. He retired as director of board and community relations in 1993, completing nearly 43 years of public service to Des Moines students and their families, teachers, fellow administrators and the community. He was an innovator and relationship-builder with a knack for opening doors, bridging divides, negotiating partnerships and making things happen. In the 12 years that followed, Jim served as Executive Director of the Urban Education Network, a consortium of Iowa’s largest school districts.
Jim was a life member of many education-centered organizations and a 60+ year member of Torch Club International. He was an active member of Golden K Kiwanis and an originating member of the Ray Society, Drake University’s lifelong learning program, which he served as president for three years. Jim was an advocate for peace and understanding and served on the boards of the Greater Des Moines Sister Cities Commission and the Iowa Sister States Commission. He was a co-organizer, board member and president of Friendship Force of Greater Des Moines. He served Friendship Force International, its global counterpart, as chairman for a three-year term. Jim also served on boards for Children and Families of Iowa and the Drake University School of Education International Advisory Committee.
Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Betty, just five days before his own passing; his parents, Leslie O. and Floy M. Wise and all six of his siblings: Mildred (Johnny) Johnson; Donald (Opal) Wise; Mabel Wise; Leslie J. (Sam) Wise and his wife, Jean; Floy Jeanne Wise and Joey (Walter) Bishop as well as nieces and nephews who were very dear to him.
Left to cherish Betty and Jim’s memories are their daughter, Nancy Doll; grandchildren Evan (Andrea) Doll and Mackenzie (Tim) Nichols; and six great-grandchildren: Corbin, Madden, Jenner and Elliet Doll; and Emmit and Clyde Nichols. Betty and Jim treasured lifelong friendships from their high school days and made many more enduring friendships through their years of volunteerism; as members of many civic and service organizations, including Betty’s beloved IZ Chapter of PEO International; during the years of Jim’s service in public education; through their travels around the world and in their charming Beaverdale neighborhood. These were two lives very well-lived and Betty and Jim will be dearly missed by their family and friends.
Betty and Jim were members of Plymouth Congregational Church and were honored to serve as church deacons and in many other capacities.
The family gratefully extends its deep appreciation to the staff at Scottish Rite Park, to Jim and Betty’s Home Instead care team and to St. Croix Hospice for the compassionate care they provided.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Betty and/or Jim may consider a memorial gift to the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines’ Better Together Fund, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines’ Golden K Kiwanis Fund or The Ray Society at Drake University.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 15, 2021 at Plymouth Congregational Church. Please visit for online condolences.

Arrangements by Iles Dunn's Chapel.




Memorial Service
Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
Thursday, July 15, 2021
10:30 AM


Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC)
3816 - 36th Street
Des Moines, IA 50310
Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines' Better Together Fund
1915 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines' Golden K Kiwanis Fund
1915 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa Polk 50309
The RaySociety at Drake University
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311-4505
The RaySociety is a lifelong learning organization tailored for those who seek stimulating discussion, cultural understanding, and intellectual exploration.