(Sept. 10, 1922 - Nov. 26, 2017)
Betty Jane (Stump) Cozzens died in her home in Billings, on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, attended by her daughter. She was 95.
She was born in Yoncalla, Oregon, on Sept. 10, 1922, to Charles Harold Stump and Neva Lucille Steel. The family settled in Cody and became prominent members of the local community. Betty attended Cody High School and graduated in 1940. She attended Woodbury College in Los Angeles, where she graduated in 1942 with a degree in bookkeeping.
Answering the call to serve her country, Betty joined the U.S. Air Force (Women Air Force Service Pilots) in 1943 and in 1944 became one of the first female pilots to fly military planes in WWII. She received a Congressional Medal of Honor for her services presented July 4, 2010, by Sen. John Barrasso. The WASPS were just some of the numerous women who stepped up during the war efforts and made a difference at a time when women’s roles were limited.
She married Melvin Cozzens in 1946, who was a flying ace. Together, along with brother Francis Cozzens, they owned and managed Cozzens’ Motors in Powell. She was active in bingo, belonged to a bowling league, bookkeeping for the business and raising two children.
Betty relished the outdoors and took advantage of all that Wyoming had to offer … fishing, hunting, dirt biking, and camping; however, her true love was riding horses.
Her most cherished years were spent in Wapiti, surrounded by family and friends in the home she and her husband, Melvin built on Green Creek Road in 1968.
Betty valued close relationships and is survived by four generations of immediate family; her daughter, Joni Neva Cozzens, mother of Jon Damon Cozzens, Rayna Lee Cozzens, and Aaron Tai Cozzens. Betty also had great-grandsons, Xaivion Cozzens, Kazaar Cozzens and a great-granddaughter, Jzendra Cozzens, mother of Hadassah Cozzens and Rayna (Jr.) Cozzens. She was known affectionately as “Bronco Bets” to her family.
Memorial services will be at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody on Friday, Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m. Full military honors will be provided by the VFW Post 2673 Honor Guard. An online memorial is available at www.BallardFH.com.