MATTOON -- Betty F. Hoots, age 86, of Mattoon, Illinois, passed away at 3:31 A.M., Monday, June 3, 2019, at Copper Creek Cottages in Mattoon, Illinois.
The funeral service in her honor will be held at 12:00 P.M., Saturday, June 8, 2019, at Mitchell-Jerdan Funeral Home, located at 1200 Wabash Avenue, Mattoon, Illinois 61938, with Reverend Ron Dickinson officiating. Burial will follow at Humboldt Township Cemetery in Humboldt, Illinois. Visitation will be from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service begins at the funeral home.
Betty was born September 5, 1932, on a farm near Big Bay, Illinois, the daughter of Noah and Kathryn (née Schoneboom) Breningmeyer. She married the love of her life, Gene F. Hoots, on March 1, 1953.
She is survived by her two children, son Brent F. Hoots and wife Jackie of Falmouth, Maine, and daughter Debra L. McNeely of Mattoon, Illinois; five grandchildren, Jack Hoots, Katie Hoots, Kristi L. Lamanna and husband Phil, Andy McNeely and wife Janet, and Ryan McNeely and wife Kristen; her brother, Lloyd Breningmeyer and wife Nancy of Charleston, Illinois, and her sister, June Fleming of Bryan, Ohio. She is preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Everett Breningmeyer.
Betty grew up in farming communities in Big Bay, Illinois and Loxa, Illinois, and assisted with farming chores alongside her dearly beloved parents and siblings, Everett, Lloyd and June. Betty was an outstanding student, the salutatorian of her high school class, and an avid reader. Betty fell in love with, and married Gene, shortly after he had purchased from his Uncle Bill Paullin the Frigid Queen, a small ice cream stand. Betty and Gene worked side-by-side running the Frigid Queen, and then expanded the operation to include hamburgers. Betty said that every queen needed a king and that “Burger King” would be a great name for their restaurant. The Burger King became Mattoon's favorite restaurant, and still is to this day. The two worked hard, long hours to build a successful restaurant and eventually expanded their business and at one point operated four different successful restaurants in the Mattoon area. Gene and Betty Hoots, their inspiring love story, marriage and successful restaurant business became an inseparable part of the central-Illinois community in which they built and gave their lives, and their unique and heart-warming story was featured on local, national and international news, including in the Associated Press, Good Morning America and National Public Radio.
Betty was actively involved in the Central Community Church of Mattoon for many years, and later a member of the First United Methodist Church of Mattoon. Throughout her life, Betty was active in the community and an avid contract bridge player and golfer. Bridge and golf became important pursuits that allowed Betty and her husband, Gene, to be active members of the Mattoon, Illinois golf community and also in the golf community at Riverwood, Florida, where they spent a great deal of their time in the winters later in life. Betty was also a self-taught, accomplished artist, with her artwork having been displayed in the Hoots' restaurant and in currently in friends and family members' homes.
Betty was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, actively involved with her family and the raising of her two children, Debbie and Brent, and in later life spending time with her grandchildren Kristi, Andy, Ryan, Jack and Katie. Betty was a very kind, warm, lovely person whose profound and inspiring legacy will be cherished and valued by her family and all who had the great privilege of knowing her. She will be greatly missed and always remembered.
Please visit www.mitchell-jerdan.com or www.facebook.comitchelljerdanfuneralhome to light a virtual candle in her honor or share a memory with the family.