Betty was born in 1915 in a log cabin on a mountain near the small town of Curlew, north of Okanogan. The family had no electricity, no running water or well, a wood stove and kerosene lamps. Her father built a lean-to on the back of the cabin to be a kitchen, and he built a wall down the middle of the cabin to provide a bedroom. Under the cabin was a root cellar. The total place consisted of 260 acres of dryland farm. Five of their 6 children were born here between 1913 and 1924, delivered by a neighbor who had come to the U.S. as a mail-order bride. The kids' school at Curlew consisted of 3 classes, grades 1-6, 7-8, and 9-10. There was no grade 11 or 12. There were just 3-5 kids in each class. The kids rode horses the few miles to town to attend school. In 1928 after years of draught, and needing a high school to further educate the kids, they moved to Spokane. Two years later in 1930 her father died of pneumonia at age 53, leaving her mother alone at age 39 with 6 children, ages 17 to 2. They then moved to Clarkston, to live with relatives. Betty graduated high school in Clarkston in 1934. She attended the Spokane Business College for two years, then worked as a secretary in Clarkston, helping support her family. In 1941 she married Clifford (Eric) Erickson in Moscow, Idaho. They lived in Colfax from 1941 to 1946, then in Seattle for 3 years. In 1949 the family moved to the Yakima area, where Eric had a job with the Superintendent of Schools. Eric then went back to college for his MA and Doctoral degrees in Education, and was a professor at Central Washington College. Betty worked as bookkeeper for her brother Dick, who owned a nearby concrete business. She was his bookkeeper until he retired decades later. She was also bookkeeper for the family doctor, Dr. Harvard Stanley Coffin III. Besides his medical practice, he was also owner of Coffin Sheep company, a huge land-holding business inherited from his family. She was his bookkeeper until he retired. Eric died in October of 1983. Keeping up the large yard, garden and fruit trees by herself was a lot of work, and in 1989 she sold the house to move to a condo in Mount Vernon near her children, where she lived for 25 years. To keep fit she walked every day, and joined a local gym which she attended most weekdays for decades, spending an hour on the treadmill and leg-lifts. The Mount Vernon and Seattle newspapers featured her in stories at the gym in January 2016 when she was 100. Around age 98 she experienced occasional fainting spells. When she was finally hospitalized and diagnosed with congestive heart failure, her health had deteriorated. Finally at age 103, needing medical supervision for her safety, she sold the condo and moved into an Everett adult residence home. A year later, she was transferred to an adult care home in Everett under Hospice Care. Although confined to bed for a year she continued to be alert. She worked sudoku puzzles daily until her eyesight made that too difficult. She died peacefully in her sleep on June 21st. Betty lived a simple, minimalist life, with minimal possessions, and with moderation in everything she did. She eschewed acquisitions, recycled meticulously, saved carefully, and tried to live her life leaving as light a footprint as possible on our earth. She was an inspiration in everything she did. She leaves behind four eternally awed and grateful children.
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