Betty L. Cullen, 99, of Chicago, who lived in Oak Park for the last 2.5 years, died on May 13, 2023. Born on April 8, 1924, she grew up on Carroll Avenue near Garfield Park, in a close-knit neighborhood where many people found their lifelong loves, and she would later marry Mart, the boy next door. She attended Mundelein College for two years, on an academic scholarship and used her earnings as the accountant and office manager at Packinghouse Byproducts, to buy her father the first TV in the neighborhood, after he was paralyzed by a stroke, and supported her mother and sister after his passing.

After a successful 20-year career, she was happy to turn her energy and organization to her life with Mart. They were older parents ahead of their time, saddened by the loss of their first daughter, Mary, at birth, but thrilled by the birth of their second, Carolyn. She was wonderful about driving cousins and neighbors to school for years and volunteering at St. John Bosco School. She cared for her own mother until the end, and selflessly helped aunts with doctor appointments and daily tasks. A devoted Catholic, she set an admirable example by helping others, attending Mass, and loved praying the Rosary until the end.

Betty was the wife of the late Martin J. Cullen. Preceded in death by her parents Daniel and Irene (Nickelsen) Clifford, she was the mother of Carolyn (Bill McLaughlin) and Mary (stillborn); the grandmother of Clare and Mary; sister of the late Pat (Bill) Burke and Alice Mae (died, age 2); aunt to Tom, Jim (Laurie Cooker), Bob, Dan (Patty) and Margie (Steve Wohlfrom); and sister-in-law to the extended Cullen clan.

Visitation was held on May 18 at Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home, 7319 Madison St., Forest Park. Funeral Mass was celebrated on May 19 at Ascension Catholic Church, followed by interment Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (, or just follow the advice of the bumper sticker on Mart’s Vista Cruiser station wagon, “Have You Hugged Your Kid Today?”

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