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Betty Deshler

May 25, 2007

Betty Deshler, associate professor emerita of social work at Western Michigan University and a well-loved community volunteer, died May 4 in Arizona. She was 80.

Deshler came to WMU in 1974 as an assistant professor of social work and retired in 1986. She taught graduate and undergraduate classes, and conducted research in a wide range of social work areas.

She worked with numerous local, state and national agencies and organizations as a workshop presenter, consultant and trainer, in addition to participating in a variety of service activities on campus and in the Kalamazoo community.

Deshler received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the WMU Alumni Association in 1985 and her dedication to others earned her the Distinguished Volunteer award from Child and Family Services of Michigan.

The Wichita, Kansas, native served four years as chair of the Michigan Inter-University Committee on Education for School Social Work and was a member of several professional organizations. These organizations included the National Association of Social Workers, National Community Education Association, Council on Social Work Education and Association for Rural Mental Health.

Prior to joining WMU's faculty, Deshler was assistant director of community services/social services for Michigan's Coldwater State Home and Training Center. She began her professional career as a teen program director at YWCAs in Sioux City, Iowa, and Jackson, Mich.

In addition, she served five years at the YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit, first as a program director and then as the developer and director of its Macomb branch; worked for 11 years as a school-community relations agent and supervisor for the Detroit Public Schools; and spent one year with the Jackson County Family Services Agency.

Deshler earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wichita in 1942 and a master's degree in social work with a community organization specialization from the University of Michigan in 1960.

In 1991, she moved to Green Valley, Ariz., where she also became known for her community service activities. A celebratory memorial service was held there earlier this month.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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