Betty Congour Caywood Bushman

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Betty Congour Caywood Bushman passed away peacefully in her KC Condo overlooking the Country Club Plaza on Sept. 3rd, 2020, in the presence of her son Stephen. Betty was born in Chicago, Ill. to Irene Wolf Congour and Vernon Price Congour on March 10, 1931.  Vernon Congour was a Ward Boss for Mayor Kelly which led to a rocky marriage with Irene, so Irene, Betty and Betty’s younger brother, Stanley, spent a lot of time with family in Kansas City, MO.  In 1944 Irene moved to Kansas City with the children permanently. 

Betty attended Westport High School and then K.C. Junior College for 1 year before transferring to Missouri University.  She had attended Missouri University for 2 years when she met and married Frank Caywood in 1950.  Frank had just been appointed Chairman of the PGA and served as such for the winter leg of the 1951 Tour with Betty serving as field secretary.  After the Winter Tour, Frank left the PGA and they returned to Kansas City.  In 1952, they moved to Salina, KS to take over the Caywood family farm.  While in Salina, Betty completed her Bachelor’s degree in Education at Marymount.  In 1953, Betty traveled back to Chicago to be with her father, Vernon, who was in a coma at a local hospital.

While in Chicago, Betty enrolled at Northwestern University and was able to complete a Master’s Degree in Speech therapy.  She returned to Salina, KS after the death of her father.  She and Frank, having been unable to have children, adopted Jeffrey Scott in September 1955.  Shortly thereafter, Betty did become pregnant and in January of 1957 they welcomed Michelle Renee.  In December 1957, Betty filed for divorce and she moved back to Kansas City with the children.  Betty secured a modeling contract with Andre’s Modeling agency in Kansas City.  Betty started modeling for various high-end stores in Kansas City which eventually led to a career in television. 

Her first TV experience was with the Builders Showcase which gave her an impressive resume of 18 thirty minute weekly shows in 18 major cities.  In 1960, Betty was hired as “weather girl” for WBKB in Chicago and she and the children moved there.  She also hosted talk shows, to include “Great Ideas from Great Books” and “Woman on the Go” where Betty highlighted new upcoming “happenings” in Chicago. 

In 1964, Charles “Charlie O” Finley the owner of the Kansas City A’s baseball team had made some guest appearances at WBKB and met Betty.  Loving Betty’s “gift for gab”, Charlie offered Betty a job as the team’s color commentator, where she would provide female viewpoints.  Knowing full well this was a gimmick that Charlie hoped would increase viewership since the team had not won a single game all season.  Betty accepted and became the First Female Baseball Broadcaster in history.  Her contract with the team lasted till Dec. 31st, 1964 and although she had grown to love the game of baseball Betty was not renewed for the 1965 season.  Finley believed the “gimmick’ had served its purpose.  Betty still made appearances on local and national TV shows as a representative of the KC A’s until December of 1964 and was even a guest on “What’s my Line”.

In November of 1964, while attending a friend’s anniversary party, Betty met the love of her life Jordan Fredrick Bushman.  They married just 6 months later in June of 1965.  Betty and Jordan welcomed Stephen Justin in September of 1966 and in 1967, they had Craig Alexander. Betty, Jordan and the children lived in St. Joseph, Missouri until 1975 when they moved to Kansas City, MO.  Since 1975, Betty has served and chaired on the boards of multiple charities and organizations to include Vanderslice, FireSide, and KC Symphony Women.

Since 1996, Betty and Jordan lived a quiet life in their condo overlooking the Country Club Plaza, one of their favorite places in KC.  Betty had still been hosting small get-togethers with close friends and family.  Betty was pre-deceased in death by her daughter Michelle Renee, her brother, Stanley Richard Congour, and her beloved husband Jordan Fredrick.

Memorial Contributions

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Michelle Bushman New Theater guild Scholarship Fund, the Kansas City Arts Institute or the Kansas City Actors Theater. 

10 Comments

  1. Carolyn Hanson (Mrs. Gary R.) on September 23, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Betty and I met thru the KC Art Institute Fireside Ciommittee. I followed her as President of the support group. She was my mentor and soon became my friend. We joined forces on several fund raising events that were successful. Betty had the gift to talk anyone into anything if it were for a good cause. She had high aspirations and taught me to go for the “high” road which was usually a large success.
    She was a fascinating lady. I was honored to help her w Jordan’s 85th birthday party. That was a personal event she wanted to give Jordan; a great party to remember! I took pictures of everyone who attended so they could replay and remember for their remaining years. She loved all of those people who came and made it special and especially Jeff who had the party at his home.
    I loved Betty as so many did. I am proud to have shared a small part of her life. She was the best of the best.
    Carolyn Hanson

  2. michale ann kincaid on September 22, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    I was honored to have met both Betty and Jordan a few years ago. Our professional relationship turned into a friendship that I cherish. My visits were filled with laughter and Betty’s life stories. This last year made it difficult to keep connected. They were both just wonderful and will be missed but never forgotten. Michale Ann (Mikie)

  3. Susan (Triplet) Cobb on September 17, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Jeff, I’m so sorry for your loss. My memories of your Mom go way back to when we became friends, I think it was 8th grade. I remember her being very gracious and kind to me, beautiful, and a great Mom.
    I hope your memories of her will be a comfort to you and your family.

  4. Betsy Hartigan Reichman on September 15, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    I met the Bushman family when I was a child growing up on Francis St and they moved in across the street from my family. I became friends with Michelle and Jeff. Michelle and I had a lot of fun times playing in their side yard. I remember going to Jeff’s Bar mitzvah. Stephen and Craig were just little boys then.
    We ended up at different high schools and lost track of each other after they moved to Kansas City. I was sad when Michelle passed away. I have fond memories of those times. I’m so sorry for the loss of both your parents. They were a beautiful couple.

  5. richard magoon on September 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

    family members…. I’d like to express my condolences… I’m the last of my family but grew up with the entire Bushman family in st joseph…. met your mother when I was a freshman in college and the rest is just fond memories…. besides being a beautiful person inside and out mom was special to me… it was she that introduced Dr Browns into my world and to my fathers deli…. you were all fortunate to have had her for so long

  6. Kathleen Collins on September 10, 2020 at 10:54 am

    I have just learned of Betty’s passing. I feel very sad. Due to the virus, I was not able to visit Betty this past year in Kansas City. However, Betty and I continued to have interesting and loving talks over the phone.
    We first met through the Kansas City Art Institute and developed an admiration for one another. She was a remarkable woman. She helped break barriers for the next generation of women. She was independent, smart, wise, funny, with a big heart. I will miss both Betty and Jordan very much.

  7. John Morris on September 10, 2020 at 9:20 am

    I met Betty and Jordan through JoAnn Meierhoff and was able to talk to them several times at her parties. Fred Stimpson and Jan Ballinger from that group always thought so much of both of them. Such a fantastic nice couple – I know a great loss for all of the kids but wonderful memories.

  8. Sarah Marquez on September 9, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Still hard to believe she is no longer with us. I am so thankful for the time we got to spend together. She definitely lived up to her name for sure, a total Betty. I value all Of our memories and hold them close to my heart. I take comfort in knowing she is at peace with her love Jordan, looking down on all of us. Our own personal angels. The Bushman’s will forever be apart of my heart and my 2nd family. Thinking of you always.

  9. Timothy Kearns on September 9, 2020 at 8:05 am

    What an impressive list of accomplishments!
    So sorry for your loss Stephan and your siblings too.
    Will keep you in your thoughts and prayers.

    • Stephen J Bushman on September 9, 2020 at 10:25 am

      Thank you Tim. She was a force!

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