|Betty Bielenberg Armstrong and Mary Bielenberg Hill
The traditional practice had been that first generation Americans whose parents were of German descent not be allowed to pursue their education beyond a minimum level. So, it is interesting that the first generation daughters in the Bielenberg family continued on the education route in their careers. One of them started teaching at the high school & college level, and the other originally taught kindergarten. During the course of their careers, both taught at all levels of education in a variety of subject areas. Both hold teaching certificates with various endorsements, and each has taught in several states.
Thousands of family members have been influenced through the years of teaching by Betty and Mary. As members of numerous professional organizations, the sisters served in many different officer capacities and on various professional boards. They were recognized by colleges in their respective subject areas as pacesetters and yet upholders of traditional values.
The Bielenberg sisters were also leaders in the Lutheran Church congregations in which they were members. Both were involved in vocal and instrumental music lessons, beginning at age seven. The results of that training has continued to allow them to participate in a variety of musical groups and presentations, continuing to date for families, schools, churches, and communities.
Direct and indirect practices of prejudice and discrimination were experienced by both daughters on many occasions. The results of those experiences have been those of leadership efforts by each to acquire fair treatment and equal rights for all individuals. Especially women in their churches and communities have benefited from the Bielenberg women assisting to break through the gender and other equity barriers.
Their parents, Rudolf and Anna Bielenberg, began their lives in America with limited formal education or financial resources. Their desire to achieve and the sacrifices they made to provide their children with opportunities assisted them in their learning and achieving their dreams. And how, then, are the Bielenberg women best described? They are independent, strong-willed, hard working, fair, caring, and proud representatives of the Bielenberg name - both here and in Germany.