Bettie (Groves) Engelbrecht

July 16, 1920 ~ October 2, 2019 (age 99)


Bettie (Groves) Engelbrecht passed away at 8:00 a.m., on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, at the Heritage Center in Evansville.

Bettie was born November 16, 1920 to L.D. and Edith Niekamp Groves. She graduated from Bosse High School, attended Purdue University for 2 years, and finished earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Evansville College. Bettie became the physical education teacher at Centennial Grade School. In the same year she started teaching, she and John A. Engelbrecht were married.  She became a west side booster and resident at that time, as she remained ever since. She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church since 1945, where she taught Sunday School for 20 years.

Her fiancé, John A. Engelbrecht, whom she met in the Evansville College library, was serving aboard the Light Cruiser Birmingham as its radio officer during World War II. They married while his ship was in port at Mare Island, Hawaii. Bettie and John A. became the co-founders of WIKY AM & FM radio stations in Evansville.

WIKY-FM was the first FM radio station to sign on in the Evansville market. They went on to start WTVK television in Knoxville, Tennessee and became franchise holders of several Muzak franchises including Evansville, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. The corporation’s name at that time was South Central Broadcasting. The company today is known as South Central Incorporated, which is a family-owned business investment company. At the time of her death, Bettie still owned a minority stake in South Central Inc.

Bettie was very active in philanthropic work in the Evansville area. She served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Board of South Central, Goodwill Industries, and the University of Southern Indiana Foundation where she received an honorary Doctorate degree. Bettie was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority, American Colleges and Universities and was one of the founding members of Altrusa of Evansville. She was active in supporting the West Side Nut Club and was a booster for Ducks on the Ohio and a Member of the Evansville Kennel Club.

Bettie is survived by her son, John D. Engelbrecht (Stephanie) of Evansville; grandson, John P. Engelbrecht (Allison); and great grandchildren, Ellie, John W., Myles, and Anna.

Bettie is preceded in death by her loving husband of 29 years, John A. Engelbrecht, who passed away in 1974; and her parents, L.D. and Edith Groves.

Private Graveside Services will be held Thursday, October 10, 2019 at Lutheran Cemetery, 1305 North St. Joseph Avenue, Evansville, with Reverend Chad Eckels and Father Ted Tempel officiating.

Friends may visit from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00p.m., Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at BOONE FUNERAL HOME EAST CHAPEL – A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue, Evansville.

Memorial Contributions may be made to: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 100 East Michigan Street, Evansville, IN 47711.

Condolences may be made to the family online at

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October 9, 2019

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Boone Funeral Home
5330 Washington Avenue
Evansville, IN 47715

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