Though Betty and Dean Goranson both grew up in Nebraska, they considered Steuben County to be their “home” for many years. They met while studying at the University of Southern California. Dean was in engineering for aggregates with gravel, and his work with the toll road led them to Angola. Betty received her degree in music education.
They moved to the area in the 1950s. Together, they owned and operated Viking Gravel Pit for many years. Later, they opened Sycamore Hill Bed and Breakfast, which Betty ran until she was 90.
Betty served as the choir director at the Angola United Methodist Church. She also led the youth choir, and often drove a big carload of kids to choir practice after school. Betty gave private lessons in music and played the baby grand piano. She was also involved in a music club in town with other local musicians.
Singing was a shared family love. Betty had several brothers, and they always sang together in their youth. Her nieces and nephews would visit once a year and the family would sing at the Presbyterian Capel she attended. Betty and Dean also liked to travel, even visiting Sweden to trace some family lineage.
Establishing the Scholarship
Through the help of her close friends, Paul and Inger Friend, Betty decided to start a scholarship fund in 2020. She established the Betty P. Goranson Music Scholarship at the Steuben County Community Foundation with some of the funds in her estate. The scholarship is intended to get someone involved with music because she had such a love for it. Inger shared, “I think she would be happy to see this scholarship foster a love of music in individuals.” The scholarship will be available for the first time in the 2020-2021 cycle, which opens November 1. Students may apply at www.steubenfoundation.org/scholarships.
Betty will turn 98 in May 2021. Today, she spends her time reading history and mystery books.