Betty was the wife of newspaper editor Martin McGowan and mother of their nine children. She earned a master's degree in Gerontology in her 70's, and was on the state board of the Minnesota Senior Federation.
She was the youngest of seven children in the family of James and Nora Theviot Nolan. She attended school in Brainerd and St. Cloud State Teacher's College, where she was class president, homecoming queen, and editor of the St. Cloud Chronicle student newspaper. She taught physical education for one year in Appleton, Minnesota before her marriage. In addition to raising her nine children, she helped with reporting and editing the Appleton Press, particularly while her husband served in the Minnesota State House of Representatives.
The family lived in St. Paul and later in Blue Earth, where she again contributed to reporting and developing advertising for the Blue Earth Post weekly newspaper. In retirement, Betty and Martin lived on Pelican Lake near Brainerd, and did reporting for the Lake Region Echo in Pequot Lakes.
Betty earned her master's degree in 1992 from St. Cloud State University, 50 years after her first degree, writing her thesis on the need for a single payer health insurance system."At the same time, she contributed to the activities of the Minnesota Senior Federation and helped develop the Senior Expo trade show for central Minnesota.
In their later years Betty and Marty moved to the Lyngblomsten Retirement Community in St. Paul, where Betty continued her volunteer activities.
She died at age 94 in the Lyngblomsten Care Center. She was buried with her husband in Appleton Cemetery, Appleton, Minnesota.
Maternal relationship is further confirmed by an AncestryDNA test match between Betty's daughter Meg McGowan and her second cousin. Their most-recent common ancestors are their great grandparents, Henry Theviot and Bertha Pickler. Predicted relationship from AncestryDNA: 2nd Cousins, based on sharing 166 cM across 11 segments; Confidence: Extremely High.
↑ "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KSKX-J3Q : accessed 29 January 2016), Betty Nolan in household of J J Nolan, Ward 2, Brainerd, Brainerd City, Crow Wing, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 18-5A, sheet 5A, family 75, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1916.
↑ "St. Cloud Teacher Student Officers," unnamed newspaper clipping, April 9, 1941, p. 9.
↑ "Three St. Cloud Queens," unnamed newspaper clipping, n.d.
↑ "Miss Elizabeth Nolan Becomes Bride M. J. McGowan, Jr." Brainerd Dispatch, Brainerd, Minnesota., n. d.,n. p.
↑ "72-year-old gets master's after 50 years," St. Cloud Times, St. Cloud, Minnesota, Nov. 25, 1992, p. 1.
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Betty by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA.
Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line: