Betty Bourgeau

Obituary of Betty Bourgeau

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Bernice Elizabeth Bilyeau was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 19, 1930. She was one of three children born to the union of John and Amanda (Hooten) Bilyeau. She grew up in Dearborn and graduated from Fordson High School.


Betty, as she commonly became known, obtained an Associates degree prior to beginning a career with Gibraltar Public Schools.   As a Head Start Teacher, Betty was especially passionate about working with underprivileged students. Her desire to be a part of the education of young children was also demonstrated by her teaching Sunday school for years. Betty also worked a second job for many years in the children’s department at Hudsons. Falling right in line with her love for education, Betty was an avid reader. She enjoyed escaping life into the pages of a great book.   Betty impressed upon many of her students the lifelong love of learning. She retired in the year 2000 after serving the school district for many years.


Betty took great pride in her home and yard.   In fact, she painstakingly tended to her landscaping planting flowers to ensure that her entire neighborhood could enjoy the beauty of her garden.   She was also an animal lover, and it had been said that Miss Betty never met a dog she didn't like. Above anything, Betty cherished family and she relished the time she spent with grandchildren and great grandchildren.


Bernice Elizabeth Bourgeau, age 92, passed away Sunday; December 18, 2022.   Her passing was preceded by her parents;  a sister: Agnes Simon; and a brother: Wallace Bilyeau.


To cherish her memory Betty leaves her daughter:  Nanette (Charles) Laginess; two grandchildren:  Matthew (Sarah) Laginess and Michelle (Blake) Peterson; five great grandchildren:  Sophie, Finn, and Theo Laginess, and Eli and Ellia Peterson.


The celebration of Betty’s life will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 11 a.m. with lunch following at:


Woodland Church

24101 Van Horn Rd. 48134


Please rsvp for the lunch by clicking on the link below:


In lieu of flowers please bring children’s books to the memorial that will be donated in her honor to underprivileged students to celebrate her love for teaching.  


Betty's arrangements were entrusted to Merkle Funeral Service, North Monroe; 2442 North Monroe Street, Monroe, Michigan 48162 (734) 384-5185. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting