Bette E. Lenza, avid swing dancer

December 2, 2019

Bette E. Lenza passed away peacefully Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. She was born in Wilmington Feb. 8, 1923, to German immigrant parents. 

Bette was a graduate of P.S. Dupont High School and soon after started a lifelong career in secretarial work. During WWII, she worked as secretary for a patent attorney for the DuPont Company.  Once her children were born, she went back to work as a secretary to the assistant principal of Mt Pleasant High School.  Later in her life she worked with her husband in their business, Bern Marts Express, until they retired to Pot Nets in Millsboro. 

Bette was an avid swing dancer, beginning in her teen years and continuing into her senior years. After seeing her on the dance floor, her husband, Fran, learned to dance so he could meet her. They married in 1943. During World War II she joined a group of USO ladies traveling to Dover to dance with the soldiers and airmen. Bette’s love for dancing resurfaced after raising her family when she joined the Cape Henlopen Senior Center and took up tap and line dancing. She traveled and performed in clubs, shows, and dance halls with a group of dancers from Sussex County. Bette was also an active member of the Talleyville Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary in Wilmington and the Ladies Auxiliary of Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Francis Lenza and her daughter, Candy Varnes. She is survived by her four daughters, Ginger Weaver of Wilmington, Shelley Robyn also of Wilmington, Penny Goins (Fred) of Little River, S.C., and Vicki Jones (Bob) of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; nine grandchildren, Kim Vezo, Adrienne Stegner, Tracey Weaver, Robin White, Carrie Schwerdtfeger (Brett), Jennifer Curtis (Clay), Nikki Webb (Patrick), Jonas Oesterle and Ean Oesterle (Jon); 12 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.  

The family would like to thank Delaware Hospice for their support throughout this past year. Their help and guidance were invaluable to Bette.

A visitation will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, at 10 to 11 a.m., at Krienen-Griffith Funeral Home, 1400 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington.  Interment will be in Silverbrook Cemetery, Lancaster Avenue and DuPont Road, following the visitation.


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