Nature 06

Mary "Betty" Elizabeth Klapper

June 26, 1949 ~ July 30, 2022 (age 73)


Mary Elizabeth Klapper, 73, passed away on July 30, 2022 from complications due to dementia. Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, “Betty” was one of four daughters of Robert and Ann Bliss.  After high school, Betty enrolled at Indiana University eventually majoring in French. In 1969, on the advice of a mutual friend, David Klapper asked Betty out to dinner after she finished work at Sugar and Spice, the bakery in the student union at IU.  Thus, began a love affair for the ages.  Hopelessly smitten, David decided to ask for Betty’s hand in marriage in August of 1970.  Ring in hand, David hitchhiked to New York that summer and proposed to Betty outside the terminal at JFK. 

Betty and David were married in the Bliss’s home in Arlington Heights, Illinois the following year. Betty then moved to Indianapolis and began her teaching career in the Indianapolis Public School system, teaching French.  One of her assignments just happened to be P.S. 70 which was David’s elementary school.  Lucky for Betty, David’s reputation had faded by the time she started. 

In addition to becoming a dedicated young mother of two boys, Betty’s love and counsel were invaluable to David as he sought new career opportunities.  She possessed a fervent belief in her husband and she encouraged him to pursue the opportunity to open an Athlete’s Foot franchise along with his childhood friend Alan Cohen.  A few years later David and his partners decided to create their own athletic footwear company, but were in need of a name.  At the dinner table one night, David asked the family for advice on what to call this new venture.  Betty’s suggestion was The Finish Line, and the next day the four partners agreed that that was the best choice.  The rest of course is history!

In later years, Betty was a devoted caretaker for her own mother who also suffered from dementia.  Spending many days a week at Hooverwood attending to her needs, Betty insured that her mother was treated with dignity and love in her final days.  During this time, she formed many strong relationships with the women that helped care for her mother.  Years later, she would even help care for one such woman in her own later years. 

A woman of boundless energy, Betty became an aerobics instructor and could be found perfecting her routines at 5:30 in the morning in the middle of the kitchen to the sounds of the Footloose soundtrack.  And taking a walk with Betty was never just a “stroll,” it was a workout and quite likely a therapy session too.  Betty put people at ease whether they had known her for a lifetime or only a matter of weeks.  She possessed a genuine interest in others which people sensed and thus opened up to her.

We will miss Betty in all the places we spent time with her, but none more so than in her kitchen.  A woman whose reputation for cooking and baking fine delicacies only grew over the years, we will always remember the long conversations she had with us, her sisters, and her many many friends as she effortlessly produced delicious items.  Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate souffle, Betty’s chicken, Betty’s challah…The list goes on and on!

Betty is survived by her devoted husband of 51 years, David. She is also survived by her sons, Jacob (Annie) Klapper of Chapel Hill NC and Matthew (Suzanne) Klapper of Washington D.C.  She also leaves behind six grandchildren, Ashley, Taite, Rory, Eloise, Easton, and Avi.  She is also survived by two of her sisters, Ginney (Rick) Bailey and Peggy (Drew) Appleby. She is preceded in death by her sister, Lucy Thompson.

The family would like to thank Story Cottage and the many caregivers who cared for Betty over the two years she lived there.  They were instrumental in helping her maintain her dignity and providing a safe place for her in her final days.

There will be a celebration of life service at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 6501 North Meridian Street, on August 12th at 11AM.  Friends are welcome to stay for refreshments following the service.  For those unable to attend in person, one may view the livestream, click:

Friends may leave a memory or message of condolence by visiting the online obituary at

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Celebration of Life
August 12, 2022

11:00 AM
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation
6501 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

This event will be live-streamed


Alzheimer's Association
225 North Michigan Ave, Fl 17, Chicago IL 60601

Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation
6501 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis IN 46260

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