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Betty Appenheimer

Betty Marie Appenheimer was born in 1921, the second of seven children of Alpheus Appenheimer and America Swango Appenheimer. She grew up on a farm about a mile and a half southeast of Toulon, Illinois, in Stark County, just west of Spoon River. She kept her diary during the years 1934-1936, beginning when she was 12.

She would go on to graduate from Toulon High School in 1938, when she was 16. She attended Monmouth College that fall, and then attended Brown Business College in Peoria, while supporting herself as a waitress.

In 1942, Betty married another student from the business college, Lawrence McDonald. After serving in Europe with the 44th Infantry Division during the war, he and Betty settled in a small town outside of Chicago, and had three children. Lawrence died in 1962, and Betty supported her family by working as a bookkeeper.

In 1970, Betty married Harold Dustin, a farmer from Stark County whom she had known in high school. Thus she was able to return to the Toulon area where she had grown up. Harold died in 2003, and Betty remained on their farm until shortly before her death in 2011.

She was an avid gardener and reader all her life. Among the books she read for her own pleasure, was the entirety of Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization in eleven volumes (14,777 pages).