Daughter of Keith Maxwell Angel and his wife Thelma Caraline (Harmer), Bett had one sister eleven years older than herself. Both of her parents worked as labourers. Her father did block work, drove school buses, was a wood merchant, a cool-drink salesman and a fruit inspector. Her mother worked on fruit blocks, in canneries and fruit-packing sheds, and as a housemaid at the Renmark Hotel. Bett went to Renmark High, but left at the age of 15. She married Jurek Stawarz in 1971 when she was 18. Four years later he was killed at the Andamooka opal field. They had no children.
At the age of 38 Bett went back to finish her education. One of the subjects she took was English (as a school assessed subject) and one portion of that folder was poetry writing. She found that she enjoyed it and wanted to learn more about it. In 1992 the Riverland was assigned a Writer in Residence, Phillip Everett, and Bett participated in the poetry workshops. From these workshops the Riverland Writers' Guild was formed, and she became a member.
Bett has a wide range of interests. She has worked as a freelance photographer for the Murray Pioneer. She is a pistol shooter at the Berri Pistol Club and was their president for two years; the only woman president the club has had. When her partner took up Street Stock Car racing she was his "mechanic". In 1998 she had three acres of Hunter apricots and was part-owner of Barmera Recycling. She has travelled to all states of Australia and to Norfolk Island.