I'm writing this about my late mother in law, Elizabeth (Betty) Catherine Devitt, who was born December 5, 1910 in Butte,Montana and died December 20, 1995 in Puyallup. Her children included my wife, Lita, Devitt (deceased) Hollis, Barbara and Monica. She was a very remarkable woman in so many respects. She was also someone for whom I had a great deal of admiration, respect and love.
Betty's parents were Merritt John Devitt and Elizabeth McCarthy Devitt. She was baptized at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Butte. She had a brother Jack and a half sister Doris Frasher Crowley from a previous marriage of her mother. At the time, her father was working as a miner in Butte. Later the family moved from Butte to Libby, Montana and then moved again to Spokane, Washington. In Spokane Betty attended Holy Names Grade School then continued at Holy Names High School. The Holy Names nuns taught the girls good manners, proper table settings and other social skills along with the normal courses.
When she was a senior in high school she met Hollis Barnett who was attending nearby Gonzaga University. They fell in love and were married November 16, 1931 at St James Cathedral in Seattle. It was a love affair that was to last for over fifty years of marriage. After the marriage Hollis dropped out of college to get work to support them. Times were difficult, but he found a job operating a gas station in Seattle so they moved there.
In 1937 Hollis was offered the operation of a small gas station located at Longmire inside Mount Rainer National Park. There was a only a very small apartment over the gas station and that became their home. Later Hollis learned that land owned by Judge Hall, who was the park commissioner, was for sale so he decided he wanted to buy it. The property was located right at the entrance to the park and he decided it was an ideal location for a gas station and restaurant. With the help of friends Hollis managed to buy the property and built a restaurant with a small room in the back where they lived. Log cabins to rent to people to spend the night were later added. Their son Devitt was born in 1933, followed by Hollis in 1939 and then Barbara in 1940. With a growing family the began to build a small house next to the restaurant in 1941. Monica was born in 1943 and Lita in 1950. This was a family run resort that served food, sold gas and provided small log cabins for overnight guests. They also rented ski equipment and had a small store inside as well. Everyone in the family worked at the resort.
Betty had many accomplishments and she loved poetry and literature. One of her favorite poems, which I read at her funeral, was by Sam Walter Foss: The House by the Side of the Road The poem concludes with words that I always felt represented how she felt about her fellow neighbor:
"Let me live in my house by the side of the road Where the race of men go by; They are good,they are bad, they are weak, they are strong; Wise, foolish – so am I. Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat or hurl the cynic’s ban? Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man."
In addition to loving poetry, whe wrote some herself. On of her poems is this untitled one that I like a lot:
"The snow floats gently on my roof tonight from mountain clouds of high, while stepping gently past my door the gentle deer goes by.
The firelight flickers in this country inn, the pictures look down from the wall; the conviction is strong, but mournful too, each child must answer his call.
Time rushes on severing the span of youth. Was it yesterday one of them said ‘if I say my prayers and brush my teeth, could I maybe sleep in your bed?’
From memory;’s halls of yester years a hollow echo rings; The pictures smile and prove again, Life and youth are born on wings.
My fire is low and I hear the song lilting round a mountain high; Where the fir’s dark shadows paint the ground with a refrain pastel and shy.
If walking tall through life’s circuitous path along the horizons rim; You smile as you meet each stranger’s wrath , the shadows of life will be dim"
Another example of her skill as a poet and writer of prose is the following:
"In a wilderness Inn on a country road many people have talked of their life and abode; Each one is seeking a tension release by communing with nature. They are seeking peace,
An age old wisdom reminds us anew yesterdays errors are made not by the few; Those wise ones that work for a better tomorrow, They are the ones with the lessor sorrow.
The haunts of the forest and its inspired streams import to a lonely one the fantasy of dreams; Man’s destiny is shaped by everyday life. Conquering the evil and facing the strife. Alas, inherent in man is a myth that is strong others will succumb but I will live on."
Her children and relatives have sent me some thoughts they have about this extraordinary woman.
Devitt Barnett Betty's grandson
I asked Devitt, Lita's nephew, about Betty's brother, Jack. He remembered him as a very bright and engaging story teller and conversationalist. He had running "debates" about religion and other issues with the family friend Fr. Vachon, a Jesuit from Gonzaga, who stayed at the resort on a frequent basis. Jack lived in the Olympia area during the last twenty five years of his life and at the Hotel Olympian for fifteen of those years.
Devitt said: I remember uncle Jack. Betty and Hollis frequently stopped to visit Jack when they were in Olympia. Hollis would go to Olympia to place an order at Western Meats. Jack retired from working for the State of Washington in Olympia.
Although Mark Twain would have accused him of simply telling "stretchers," others who knew him well would tell you that his stories were hardly ever totally true. He once told Hollis: "….Hollis, the truth is so painful to me, that I'd rather climb a fifty foot pole than to tell the truth about…well…just about anything." He was a character bigger then life that everyone enjoyed being around and Betty was very close to him.
Patricia Schlaap Betty's niece
Lita's cousin, Pat Schlaap said: when I remember Betty Barnett, I think about a beautiful well dressed woman with a fabulous laugh and great sense of humor. I always looked forward to seeing her from the time I was a little girl because she made me happy and I had fun being in her company. She was accepting, understanding and a true lady.
My mother told me many stories of their shopping trips to find what Betty called the perfect "little knock-out" dress. (Hollis's had a sister Zelma "ZeeBee" Pat Schlaap's mother) Pat said: Betty managed to keep peace in the family even when ZeeBee and Hollis had their differences. She was a woman of substance. The most significant thing about Betty for me was that she was not judgmental about others.
Here's what others in the family have said:
Hollis Barnett, son
Hollis remembered Uncle Jack this way: Mom had a brother, Jack. Jack Thomas Devitt was born July 14, 1907 and died October 21,1972. He graduated from High School, I don’t think Jack went to college but he had some special courses as he worked for the Department of Revenue in the inheritance tax department from which he retired. Jack had a terrific sense of humor but also enjoyed a drink. He was 6-2 and was a big man when he was younger, but gained substantial weight. He developed diabetes and was on insulin injections daily. He got an infection in his toe, and eventually had four separate operations that took off portions of the foot, ankle knee and finally mid thigh. Jack was not married but had girlfriends throughout his life. His last lady friend was Vera and they were together the last twenty or so years but kept separate residences. Jack lived in a hotel in Olympia where he died.
Mom graduated from Holy Names but did not attend college. When Dad went to Gonzaga he stayed in a boarding house run by Aunt Nell, who was mom’s aunt. Her aunt introduced Dad to Mom and that was the start of a wonderful relationship. They married on Nov 16, 1931 at St James Cathedral in Seattle. I think Dad only had one year at Gonzaga but I’m not sure. I know he was cheerleader for the Gonzaga football team, but I don’t have any further information. Mom never attended college, but you would never know it from her vocabulary and communication skills. I believe that Dad quit college because he decided it was time to make a living after he and Mom married. It was during depression and times were still very tough.
Dad had worked in Seattle for a short time running a gas station. Then he got a job operating a tiny gas station in Mount Rainier National park. Dad had grown up in the park where his father, Herm, worked as a ranger from 1916 until his retirement in 1944. Herm’s first duties at Mt. Rainier, in 1916, was as a predatory animal trapper. He set and ran a trap line from Packwood to Longmire. Dad had worked as a temporary ranger in the park while growing up.
Paul Ceva was the manager and a key owner of the National Park Company that had the concession at Paradise and Longmire. Dad was offered the job of running the gas station at Longmire by Paul Ceva, and he and Mom then moved into the very small "A" frame apartment over the gas station. They continued working at Longmire until 1937.
In 1937 Dad & Mom decided to start an Inn at the entrance of the park. The Park Commissioner at the time was Edward Hall who had a 160 acre homestead which is where Nisqually Park is now located. Hall agreed to sell 14 acres out of the SE corner of his property. They bought the land. Grandfather Herm didn't think it was a good idea and Dad's boss Paul Ceva predicted they would never make it.
Dad talked a number of their friends into helping them construct the first Gateway Inn which is one a third of the current frontage along the road into the entrance to the park. Their friends also helped them construct the initial motel units. The units were cheaply constructed and there was a common out house for use of the motel guests, until bathrooms were later added.
The first day the restaurant opened Mom was the cook, even though she had no previous experience cooking. They couldn't afford to buy china for the restaurant so they used their own. It was good Lenox china and most of the china was broken the first year. Business was good because their friends all showed up. Once a park ranger at the park entrance saw that mom was having some problems in the kitchen so he went back in the kitchen, put on an apron and helped her get out the food.
The old house was constructed around 1942 and the framing lumber was rough cut 2 x4.The house was constructed by local carpenters and I think they paid them for the work as opposed to the friends that helped them construct the Inn and motel units mostly with donated labor.
Dad had developed a relationship with the Texaco Company and they installed gas pumps which were initially between the Inn and the street. The gas pumps were later moved back further from the street and on the far side of the Inn on the right
The biggest natural disaster that impacted them was the Kautz Creek mudflow which I think was in November of 1949 at about 11:00 pm. There was a small lake of water that had backed up behind part of the Kautz Glacier, and the natural dam, holding the lake, broke in a torrential rainstorm. The sound of the flood was heard by the rangers before it hit and they closed the park gate at Gateway.
The flood waters were over a mile in width running from the old house over to Skate creek. The flood went under the Gateway Resort depositing three feet of mud in the basement and destroyed all the motel units. There was a tremendous roar when the flood hit and the most pungent earth smell of the trees being uprooted. Boulders larger than cars floated on the mud debris. The water was on both sides of the old house and I remember the rangers that carried us across the flooding waters to the Inn.
The cabins had to be replaced. There was a French Canadian in his late 60's named Jean Baptiste Cote (claimed to be related to Buffalo Bill Cote) dad hired to build the log cabins. All of the logs were cut down from the property in the back and hand peeled and skidded with a pickup to the site where the cabins were constructed. My brother Devitt worked with carpenter helping him and I also helped peel the bark from the logs. The flood had deposited 1 to 2 feet of mud around the old growth fir on the property. The large trees were logged as they thought the trees would have died from lack of oxygen at their roots, and the smaller trees used for the cabins.
Later a Catholic priest became part of the family. Mom did not know Father Andrew Vachon was a priest when he first began stopping at Gateway. She thought he was just another customer. She knew he was an artist and because he looked a little disheveled, mom thought he was down and out on his luck. Then one day he stopped in and had several Catholic sisters with him which got mom’s immediate attention. It was then she discovered he was a priest, and he always had free meals from then on. Eventually he became very close to the family and shared some of our holiday meals with us.
There were other priests over the years that became close to Mom and Dad. One was the priest at Bellarmine, Fr. Sneringer, who loved to ski, and was great with the kids at Bellarmine. He would annually bring a number of the Bellarmine high school athletes to Gateway for a day of skiing at Paradise.
[NOTE: What a small world this is. One of the priests who Betty got to say Mass at Gateway was my friend Fr. Michael Schmitt. We both attended St. Martin's College together. I remember him telling me about this wonderful family he had met while skiing and hiking in the park. On November 11, 1987 Fr. Schmitt was killed when a driver crossed the center line and hit his car head on.]
The Catholic religion was a big part of mom's life. Father Grier was the priest at Eatonville for a number of years, and he was a gruff German priest that liked to smoke cigars, but was a good priest. For many years he would say Mass at Paradise. Mom was close with Fr. Grier. Fr. Grier became friends with Herm Barnett as they were not too many years apart and both of them liked to fish. Herm rolled his own cigarettes and you would see Fr. Grier and Herm smoking and chatting in the booth at Gateway on occasions. Herm wasn’t particularly a religious man and mom kept working on him and I suspect also encouraged the friendship with Fr. Grier. In the end before Herm died he agreed to be baptized a Catholic and Fr. Grier baptized him. He didn’t want Mom to tell Ethel his wife and to my knowledge she never knew he was baptized.
Paradise Inn also encouraged priests to hold mass at Paradise, I’m sure partly with Mom’s prompting. Mom always had to work on Sundays and she would go to mass on weekdays if she and dad had an overnight trip to town, but it wasn’t a regular occurrence. If there was no mass at Paradise, mom would always send the kids to mass at Eatonville or Morton with a family friend. Louie Boyer, who was a Catholic and worked in the park. When Mass was said at Paradise it was usually at 6:30 AM so the priest could then travel down and say Mass downtown. There were a number of years where Mom was able to get the priest to say Mass at Paradise and also at Gateway on the way down. When that didn’t occur we would drive to Paradise for Mass before coming back to work at Gateway. Sundays were usually the busiest days at the Inn.
Dad was not a Catholic when he met mom and always said it was hard for him to believe all of the stories in the old Testament. mom kept working on him. With the help of the local priest Dad did become a Catholic after they sold the Gateway.
After I came home from the Army, I began working at Gateway. I thought that I might want to run the resort one day. It became apparent after 6 months that I probably would not choose to stay there but nothing had been said. Mom talked to Fr. Vachon about the possibility of my going to law school at Gonzaga, and she also asked me if I might want to consider law school. Fr. Vachon asked if I would be willing to go if he could get me accepted. I really didn’t think that it would happen but I was willing to give it a try so I said yes. At that time it was late August and School was starting in several weeks. The Dean of the law school was Fr. Conklin, and Fr. Vachon probably embellished my Green Beret Army Service and the year I spent studying Russian to get me in. Although I graduated from Seattle University my grade point was around a B-. I got a call the next week advising me to apply and I would be accepted subject to passing the admission test later that fall. It was about thirty days from the time that I first discussed the potential of law school to the day I left for Gonzaga. Needless to say Fr. Vachon had a tremendous impact on my life, owing ultimately to Mom’s faith in the lord.
Mom became an excellent cook and they took great pains to serve delicious meals at Gateway. Dad was always very personable and Mom in her later years would have cooks doing the work so she could also visit with the customers. They developed a following and knew all of the return customers by name. Their signature meal was pan fried trout, with home made bread and home made wild blackberry pie. Every year the folks would buy hundreds of five gallon tins of frozen blackberries and frozen blueberries, and would keep them in cold storage in Tacoma. For a number of years they had a "Duncan Hines" recommendation and customers would drive from Seattle just to have dinner at Gateway.
The folks developed a special relationship with the Mountaineers, who were a group involved in climbing Mount Rainier. The Gateway was a meeting place for the Mountaineers from around the State. The Inn offered a "Porterhouse Steak" special for $3.50. For the Mountaineers the price was a special $2.75. The steak wasn't always on the menu, but was always available for them.
Lita Barnett Luvera, daughter:
Mom was a very bright, determined, and take charge kind of woman. if she were born in a later era she would probably have become a CEO of a business. She used to tell me she hoped I would become a news anchor so perhaps that is what she secretly would like to have been herself.
She loved reading and writing and would recite Poetry with dad to me in the evenings. We didn't get good TV or Radio reception so reading was something we did to occupy ourselves. English was her favorite subject whether it was studying vocabulary, writing stories or poems or just reading literature. Both she and dad loved to read.
They worked together for over 50 years. it was a long and loving marriage. One Valentines day there was a front page Story about them in the Tacoma News Tribune that was entitled "Together for 50 Years" with their photo. I have a copy of it in our kitchen at our home.
During their long marriage they did everything together. However, after they retired there were times mom would leave dad to play bridge or cards with some of the other women in the community. I remember stopping by one day when mom was gone to play cards with the women. There was dad was pacing around in front of their place because she was a little late and he was worried. He was waiting to see her walk down the road. It made me laugh because she was only one block away in the community clubhouse.
Education was paramount to both of them and Mom made it clear it wasn't "if" you were going to college, but "where" and she wanted it to be a Catholic school. I was the only one that didn't attend a Catholic college. I went to The University of Washington. Barbara, Hollis and Monica all went to Seattle University and Devitt graduated from St. Martins. [NOTE: Actually Lita did go to a Catholic School. She graduated from law school at Gonzaga University. In addition, her brother Hollis and his wife both have law degrees from Gonzaga University as does her nephew Devitt. Betty was very proud of them all]
I remember mom always being well groomed and when she and Dad went to "town" (which they did about once a week) she would go upstairs to get dressed in a suit. She would pay special attention to her hair and make-up. I remember she would have gloves in her purse. She also used Shalimar perfume from a French perfume company, Guerlain. It is still made and whenever I smell that fragrance I think of mom. She had a real sense of style and when we talked about shopping she would say I need to find something that is a "little knock-out." I never understood what that was, but she knew one when she saw one.
Mom Loved fancy things. I wish she could have seen places I've been blessed to see in London, Paris , Rome and around the world. She would have loved to have experienced it and see all the architecture and furnishings
She was proud of the fact they were members of the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle where they would stay. Her favorite Restaurant was at The Top of the Town at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle.
Usually Dad would be the one to take me to town to buy school clothes for the school year. August was the busiest time at the resort and mom would have to stay to run the resort. She would tell us to only buy clothes of good quality because she said It's quality not quantity that counts. When I would shop with her I usually got one or two outfits after trying on six or seven. She would look at the fabric and the price and how they looked on me and we would get the one or two she thought were best. But, I liked to shop with dad because after modeling everything he could never decide which was best. The result was I usually ended up with a lot more clothes! When mom found out, we would both be in trouble when I got back home.
Mom and dad worked very long hours from 7:00 AM to sometimes 10:PM at night or until the last customer had left. As a result of building the business there wasn't a lot of time to take care of the children. So mom hired a young woman to take care of us for them. Antonia ("Toni") was hired to take care of the children. Her middle name was Theresa and I was named after her. She raised me.
The resort was busy. Paradise was really the only skiing facility before Crystal Mountain opened. During World War II the army did training and that meant continual business as well. Even a movie was made at the Gateway. The movie Track of the Cat was made there. The stars included Tab Hunter, Dianah Lynne and Robert Mitchum. They all stayed at Gateway during the shooting of the movie.
Mom was pretty athletic in her younger days. She and dad skied and hiked and camped out at the Park. It has always seemed to me she led an incongruous life at Mount Rainier given her background and education. At Holy Names, at that time, the nuns taught the young girls how to set a formal dining table, how to properly get out of a limousine, how to introduce people properly, as well as lessons in Latin, English Literature. Totally unlike what she ended up doing at Mt Rainier.She was destined for a very different life before falling in Love with Hollis. As Robert Frost said in the Road Less Traveled: "… two roads diverged in a yellow wood…" and she took the one less traveled which made all the difference.
She always said she would like to have lived in a home overlooking the water. It is interesting that Monica, Barbara and I all have homes not just overlooking the water, but with a view of Mt. Rainier from our homes as well. I don't think that is a coincidence. I think mom is still watching over us.
While we all worked at the family resort, I was lucky because by the time I was born they were financially in a better position. As a result I got to travel with them to many places. They loved Hawaii, San Diego, Mexico and Arizona where Barbara was living. Before going to Mexico, they would check out Spanish language tapes from the public Library and practice together to speak the language.
She was an excellent chef but I never remember her ever using a recipe. I learned to cook by watching her. She didn't cook "fancy" things but was a master at homemade soups, roast Turkey with all the trimmings, prime rib roast, mountain brook trout, home made bread,wild berry pies and homemade Jam.
It was an extraordinary experience having been raised in this way by two wonderful parents and I am indebted to my mom.
Barbara Barnett Beninger, daughter
My mother loved the Holy Names Sisters like they were her family. She explained that was because "they raised me." Her own mother was elderly and in not real good health when mom was a young girl and the sisters at the Holy Names Academy in Spokane became surrogate mothers to her. They not only taught her all the academic subjects: reading, writing, math, languages, but her social skills, as well as a deep spiritual Catholic faith.
Two of her nun teachers who took her under their wings were Sr. Barbara and Sr. Monica. That’s why she named me Barbara and my sister Monica. Mom never let either of us forget we were named after nuns. I’m sure it was meant to be that my first teaching job was at St. Mary Magdalen, run by the Holy Names Sisters and Sr. Monica Moffet was the principal (but not the same Monica). However, it turned out that mom’s former teacher Sr. Barbara was right next door to my classroom and we had great times together. Mom loved to have me share these stories with her.
Mom had a deep personal faith and trust in our Lord. I remember so many occasions when just the two of us would talk about God and what that unending trust meant in her life when times would get tough for her. When we were little she had Toni (our care giver) teach us our Baltimore Catholicism every Sunday after Mass. We would memorize the standard questions: Who Made you? God made you etc. I would be impatient with rote answers and she would always encourage me not to just memorize, but know God's Spirit is always with you and you can ask Him and it will always be there for you.
I carry that lesson to this day. I remember the time she lost the diamond out of her ring (really a big deal to her). She was a strong believer in St. Jude so she got right down on her knees and started to pray. After many prayers and petitions she looked down by the corner of the rug over in the old house and there was the diamond. She absolutely believed St. Jude answered her prayer. She believed in the power the saints have in our lives.
Mom always offered up any suffering or health problems she had to God as His will be done. She was very instrumental in all of our lives. Her love of the Catholic Church and faith in God will always be with each of us.
The story of mom or our family wouldn't be complete without knowing about Toni who helped raise us. Antonia Theresa Hrvatin (Toni) at the age of three arrived in America from Yugoslavia in the early 1920's with her non-English speaking mother, When they landed in New York they had just enough money to buy their train ticket to Tacoma, with enough left over for each of them to buy a bag of peanuts to eat on the five day journey. They each wore a name tag on their coat with their first and last name and destination. Toni told me that several times her mother would get up like she was ready to leave when they stopped at stations along the way and the conductor would come over to her and shake his head No! and point to the destination on her tag and they would sit back down for another day. They ran out of peanuts on the third day so the last two they had nothing to eat only water to drink.
When they arrived in Tacoma her father met them at the station and took them to their home in Alder. Later they moved to Eatonville where Toni went to school and after her graduation from Eatonville High School she came to work at The Gateway Inn as a dishwasher. Hollis was two and a half and I was ten months old and mom could see how much Toni enjoyed us. She decided to hire her to be a full time nanny for the children.
It was at this time they were building the family house next to the restraint. It was built with trees from the land they owned around it. When it was completed in August we moved in and began our family life with Toni at the helm. I think all of the children would agree we were blessed when we received the gift of this young woman by the name of Toni who shared her life with us so unselfishly and instilled in each of us her spiritual nurturing care, love and compassion
Monica Barnett Hearon, daughter
My memories of growing up at Mt. Rainier with my mom and dad at The Gateway Inn are very special. My name is Monica Barnett Hearon and I was the middle child having two older brothers, Devitt and Hollis, and an older sister Barbara and a younger sister Lita. As children we had a house a stone's throw from the restaurant. It had a huge rock fireplace, high cedar ceilings, three bedrooms but only one bath. That one bathroom was the prized room in the house and a good reason to be the first one out of bed.
My favorite time in that house was Christmas morning when mom and dad would be with us. We would spend the morning opening gifts and have a special breakfast with them. Why that was so special is that most of the time mom and dad were working at establishing the restaurant, having cabin's built, and running the operation of a business. So there was not much time to spend raising children and taking care of a house. When we could spend time together it was very special.
I came into the family when "The Place" (all of us called the Gateway Inn "The Place") was about five years into operation. Mom was very busy from morning to late at night so she hired a young woman named Antonia Hrvatin (Toni) to take care of the house and children. Toni started working for my parents when she was eighteen, shortly after graduating from Eatonville High School. Mom was very lucky to have found her and the wonderful thing for all of us is that she stayed and worked for my parents for about twenty years. I have many memories of Toni and think of her as my second Mom. She spent hours teaching us catechism, reading books to me like Heidi and Little Women, taking me for long walks and letting me know how special I was when the older Barb and Hollis would ditch me and go off together to play without the younger sister tagging along.
Mom made sure we all got to church on Sunday in Eatonville although that was a very busy day at "The Place." As a result mom very seldom would be able to come with us. She finally solved that problem when she befriended a priest, Father Andrew Vachon SJ, a Jesuit priest from Gonzaga University in Spokane. He enjoyed her and the family so much he would stay with us on weekends and say Mass in the dining room for anyone who wanted to attend. When Father Vachon wasn't saying Mass he would be oil painting landscapes, and became quite famous for his art.
Once I was old enough to be part of the working family at the restaurant, at about age eleven, old enough to do dishes without wearing a life jacket, I realized how very hard restaurant work was. My mom and dad worked long hours and no matter how tired they were they had to smile and be gracious to all the people who came through their door. We all learned work ethics from that business and how to handle all types of people. I remember one late evening a group of ten Japanese business men came to stay at the Inn and wanted a late dinner. Mom was tired, but made them rice and chicken. When I served them they said the rice was dry and hard to eat. I went to the kitchen and told mom and she said "tell them if they don't eat it tonight they will have it in the morning with their eggs," and guess what, they all ate the rice. No more complaints.
After Mom and Dad retired and sold the business in 1971 they moved to Puyallup, WA. It was during this time that one of the most sorrowful days for all of the family happened. It was the unexpected death of Devitt Barnett at the age of 42. Mom and Dad never thought they would have to bury a child, and we kids were not prepared to experience the loss of a sibling. It was during this time that I understood how important a faith life is and how it can help lessen the pain when a family has to experience a loss of a friend or a loved one.
After their retirement and I was married with two children, I was able to spend some quality time with them. We went on several trips and especially loved traveling to Canada. We stayed at a hotel called the Blue Horizon and Mom loved it for its water view. She always wanted a home with a water view but died at the age of seventy five and that dream has only been realized in her daughter's choice of home sites.
I feel sure Mom has been guiding us from her special place in heaven as I always feel her love and spirit surrounding me. Whenever something unexplainable happens, like my sister Lita and I both living next to each other in Gig Harbor with water view homes, my husband Richard says, "Well your Mom is up their pulling strings again" and we both smile and know it's true.
This is published in memory of my friend and a woman I greatly admired for her wisdom, intelligence and genuine love of fellow human. I treasured her nonjudgmental attitude and acute intelligence combined with enormous common sense. Here's to you Betty Barnett. We all miss you.