Betty Jean Johnson was the first of ten children born to the union of Dorothy Mae Johnson and Raymond Johnson, Sr. on November 18, 1942 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The family later moved to Detroit, Michigan to pursue better work opportunities in the automotive industry.
Betty’s love for learning began at an early age. She held many memories of teachers who encouraged her to participate in school projects and of assisting her high school’s administrative office. Betty graduated from Pershing High School and later from Spring Arbor University, earning a Bachelor of Arts with a specialty in Management/Organizational Development in May 1992. She then completed all course work at Central Michigan University for her Master’s Degree but due to health issues, did not complete her final class. Still determined years later, Betty returned to school, started the process from the beginning, and finally received her Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University at the age of 69 on November 19, 2011. Along the way, she also earned licenses and certifications in many fields including real estate, insurance and travel industries.
Over the course of her life, Betty held many professions. She was a model and entertainer, which allowed her the excitement and freedom of traveling and networking during a period of time she playfully referred to as B.C. (before children). Later, Betty worked as a proofreader for a law school newspaper, editor of a local magazine, corporate office manager, human resource administrator and an administrator for an international consulting firm.
Betty married Joseph Dewitt Risker and from this union they had two daughters, Kalyn and Myett. After divorcing, they remained best friends until Joseph transitioned to be with the Lord on January 15, 2000. Betty worked in sales for many years with Joseph Risker and later continued in sales independently, selling for various national brands while consistently exceeding corporate sales goals. She received numerous awards, promotions, high level bonuses and trips including a fully paid vacation to Hawaii.
Betty’s strong faith in the Lord began as a child when she would walk to a neighborhood church each Sunday by herself. She was saved in 1988 when she joined Greater Grace Temple. Immediately afterwards, she came home and declared “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” and promptly insisted her daughters be baptized as well. In 2004, Betty, her daughters and granddaughters joined and became active covenant partners of Hope Evangelical Ministries where Betty stated that Hope Evangelical Ministries and Apostle Frankie H. Young “have influenced my life greatly”. In 2012, Betty began to fellowship with the Senior Ministry at Detroit World Outreach. Betty was grateful for the knowledge and biblical principles that she received from various church services, classes and ministries that helped her to grow her relationship with God.
Betty J. Johnson-Risker would profess her love of serving in the “Ministry of Helps” by helping and serving others so they can be their personal best inside and outside of the church. Throughout her life, she volunteered for political leaders, nonprofit organizations and church ministries. She lived by the motto: “Blessed is the leader who seeks the best for those he serves.”
Betty was extremely proud of the accomplishments of her daughters. She was a founding board member of her daughter Kalyn’s nonprofit organization SAFE – Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment. She actively sought out resources for the organization, volunteered and worked with the survivors of domestic violence that it serves. Betty also supported her youngest daughter’s passion, Myett Risker Photography. She loved to help with the planning of Myett’s critically acclaimed annual gallery show “Women.”
Family was of the utmost importance to Betty, she would volunteer and attend school, professional and church based events that her participated in. Betty was the biggest cheerleader for her family and friends. She loved experiencing new things, enjoying outings and cultivating the special friendship she had with her daughters and granddaughters. The love of the “Risker women” for each other was experienced by all who met them. Betty loved her family as well as her extended family of friends that she felt privileged to encounter throughout her vibrant life. Younger people gravitated towards her and often called her “Momma Risker”. Betty was a compassionate soul who wanted everyone to know that they were loved and that God had created each of us uniquely beautiful and special.
Betty Jean Johnson-Risker was called home to be with LORD on November 15, 2013. She leaves behind a legacy that all who knew her will cherish including two daughters: Kalyn & Myett, two granddaughters: Aryn & Toni, three sisters: Laveria Dixon, Michelle King, Yvette Sheffield, four brothers: Raymond Johnson Jr., Randolph Johnson, Corteze Johnson, Dwayne Johnson and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Betty was preceded in death by her father Raymond Johnson, Sr., her mother Dorothy Mae Johnson, her sisters Gwendolyn Johnson and Jacqueline Johnson-Saunders.
Momma, Thank you for being you. I am so grateful for your example of how everyone should exemplify Jesus Christ in their lives. I will miss talking to you several times and day and seeing you every day. You loved us unconditionally. I will love you and treasure our special bond always. ~Kalyn
Hello Mommy, Give Daddy my love Mommy. What else can I say? I guess the only thing I can say is, “Thank you for being my Mommy.” I love you so very much. ~Myett
Grandma, I will miss our sleepovers, late-night talks, your advice, laughter & stories. I will love & miss you always. ~Aryn
I will love and miss you grandma. You will never be forgotten. Love ~Toni
Betty, I will miss you so much… I can only hold tight to our memories and always cherish the days of our youth when we use to have so much fun together, dress alike down to the same little bows in the front of our hair. We would share so much with each other, talking to the wee hours in the mornings of our plans when we grew up. You will never be forgotten and will remain in my heart forever with love and remembrance. I will hold tight to knowing that now you are at peace and comfort. Love ~Vera
My loving sister who always inspired me to dream big and aim high – you will always be a part of me. Your joyful laughter will be the heart of my memories. ~Shell
Betty, I am going to miss our hours and hours talking on the phone, with your encouraging words of wisdom along with plenty laughter. I am going to miss us calling and saying “Happy Birthday” to each other and like you would always say before you hung up the phone. “Love You Baby.” Love ~Vette
I will never forget my sisters laugh, our political discussions, and how she would speak her mind. ~Corteze
I will always be your Baby Brother, and you will always be my Big Sister, Love you !!! ~Dwayne
Love you. ~JR
Maybe gone, but still in my heart always & forever. ~Randy
Aunt Betty, Thank you for always challenging me to see things differently and to never settle for contentment. I will miss you and your laughter that lifted any and everyone around you. Peace and love to you. ~Debbie
What is a Mother?
A mother is one of life’s best gifts,
She’s caring and loving,
Thoughtful and true,
Someone who is always a special part of your life,
Someone who holds a prime place in your heart,
She’s a mentor, a confident and also a friend,
Someone on whose love you can depend.
A mother always has your best interests at heart,
She’s someone so dear and so good,
She’s a blessing; she’s a gift,
She’s a treasure like no other,
She’s someone that is truly wonderful.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do,
A mother’s love will always see you through,
A mother is truly invaluable,
Indispensable and unforgettable,
And that’s why I’m so grateful,
That you were part of my life like a mother.
Love You Momma Risker ~Dollisha
A Daily Prayer by Betty Risker
Though it may not be understood
If I find myself in a place
I have not been before
I will trust you even more
Today I set my mind
In tune with your loving care
I will enjoy this day
And look for you everywhere, Amen