Herb & Betty Hanten Family

Published 2015

Comfort. You might feel comforted with friends or family, a hug, fond memories, or even a daily routine. Many find comfort as soon as they walk in their front door, sit in a favorite chair, or gather at the table to share wholesome “comfort” food.

Betty Hanten of Watertown finds comfort in all those things.

“On the farm, lunch was always straight up at noon,” she reminisced. For the kids, many times lunch meant a sack lunch, whether for school or during a break from chores. “I’d usually include a treat like chocolate chip cookies. If I really wanted to spoil them, I’d pack a piece of carrot cake. We always ate supper together.” Meat and potatoes, as well as casseroles like calico beans, were a staple. Now, many years later, Betty still makes her children and grandchildren their favorite comfort foods.

Betty and her husband, Herb, farmed for many years just south of Watertown. In the early 2000s, they sold a portion of their land to the City of Watertown. That land was developed into the Hanten Industrial Park which led to the development of Glacial Lakes Energy. That sale brought Herb some very meaningful comfort.  “After that, he knew I would be taken care of,” Betty said. “He had the forgone conclusion, he would go before me.” Herb passed away in 2008.

Many organizations within Watertown bring Betty comfort. “I have personal experience with Watertown Area Transit,” Betty said. “I don’t drive. I really appreciate those drivers. They’re so good, whether they’re picking up a school kid or someone with a walker. I have great affection for the Transit program.”

“There’s a tremendous amount of talent in the Town Players organization,” Betty continued. “I’ve gone to almost every production they’ve had. The Boys and Girls Club of Watertown is a great place for our young people. And I wish we didn’t need the Beacon Center, but the fact is, we do.”

Betty takes comfort in not only knowing those organizations are there but also knowing that she is able to help them forever through the Herb and Betty Hanten Family Fund she recently established at the Watertown Area Community Foundation.

“This has always been my community,” she said. “I believe in this community and if there’s anything I can do to help, I want to do it. That’s all there is to it.”

“Really and truly, Watertown is important to me,” Betty added. “I went to high school here, worked here, and raised a family here.” Mr. and Mrs. Hanten were married in 1953 and had three sons. Their sons and grandchildren were all raised in Watertown.

Betty is comforted every time she looks at a wall of family photographs in her home.  She also displays several things she brought from the farm that holds a special place in her heart. Among them, her favorite dishes that Herb surprised her with many years ago purchased at a local store.

“He knew I liked them and we were driving by and he said, ‘Let’s go in and buy your dishes.’ That was quite some time ago, but those dishes still serve up a lot of comfort in more ways than one.”

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