In memory of
Michael Donel Bettler 1944-2019 Michael Donel Bettler died on Thursday, March 28, surrounded by loved ones. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 11, 1944 to Marcellus and Ellen (née Reed) Bettler, Michael was the younger of two children; older brother, David Bettler, precedes him in death, as does his beloved wife of 45 years, Lucia Ferrara Bettler. Raised primarily in Houston, Texas, Michael attended Lamar High School and began his undergraduate education at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. A life-long traveler, Michael left school to join the U.S. Peace Corps in 1967 and served two years in the Republic of the Niger, where he managed a well water pump installation program, taught water conservation and sanitation, created vegetable gardens, and adventured alongside the Tuaregs. Upon his return to the U.S., Michael enrolled at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where he met and married the love of his life, Lucia. After completing a degree in English, Michael went on to professionally teach English as a Second Language (ESL), which allowed him to share his love for language with students from diverse colleges, universities and private corporations. In partnership with his wife, Michael was the co-owner of Lucia's Garden, a gift/herbal shop and learning center that operated in Houston for over 30 years. Through the shop, Michael drew from his life's work and from his training as a Harris County Master Gardener to extensively teach about gardening, herb growing, medicinal herbs, and the language of flowers. Michael was a member of the Texas Community College Teachers Association, TexTESL, and the International Herb Association. He was also a member and past president of the Texas Herb Growers and Marketers Association. Michael was a highly creative person who appreciated art in its many forms. He was an accomplished photographer, poet, hobbyist cartographer, and aficionado of the Sunday funnies. He loved to travel and had a deep appreciation for the Earth and for all it had to offer. His quest for knowledge and his love of folklore and symbolism made Michael a consummate mentor and teacher. Perhaps most of all, he will be remembered for his quick wit and humor. It was often hard to tell if a story Michael told was true, embellished or the stuff of imagination. At the end of the day, however, such details never mattered: his stories were always good and usually ended with a full-belly laugh. Michael leaves behind a legacy of family and friends who cherish him. This includes close friends Brian Kimmel and Brad Morris, as well as Felix Scardino, Michael Butera and Tony Matranga (among many others) from his men's group; loved ones from Lucia's women's group; his sisters-in law: Gabriele Bettler, Mary Jo Piwetz, and Lois Ferrara; his brothers-in-law: Mike Piwetz and Richard Ferrara; his cousins: Barbara Tipton (husband Bob), John Reed, Bruce Webster, and "the Hall cousins" (Penny, Danny, Bruce, Margie, and Philippa (who precedes him in death)); his nieces and nephews: Jill Breeze (husband John), Brian Martin (partner Michaela), Nicki Creel (husband Ronnie), Amy Simmons (husband Chris), Jessica Flores (husband George), Emily Piwetz, Rick Ferrara (wife Claudia), Lisa Ferrara, Lynn Fagerstrom, as well as extended family members; his spirit children: Joel Miles, Sheila Johnson-Brousseau (husband Dan), and Laura Achenbaum (partner Candace), to whom he was a loving father figure; as well as countless students. There will be a memorial to celebrate Michael's life on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the Live Oak Friends Meeting House (1318 West 26th St, Houston, Texas 77008). Friends are invited to begin gathering at 4:30pm for refreshments and conversation; a memorial service will begin at 6:00pm, followed by a silent reflection. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Urban Harvest ( urbanharvest.org/donate ).
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