Our mother, Elizabeth “Bette” Walters, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. She was born Aug. 15, 1929, in Hood River, Ore., where she lived her entire life. Her parents were Henry Smith and Grace Binns Smith. She loved the Hood River Valley and was so proud to be able to raise her family here. There are now five generations of her family that can call the Hood River Valley home. She was the eighth of nine children. Mom told stories of spending her childhood hanging out with her two older brothers, Larry and Frank. They had many adventures building forts along Indian Creek and she has said she doesn’t know how she survived some of the things they got her into. She also had many fond memories of watching her younger brother, Bob Smith, play sports as a high schooler and later when he played baseball professionally. When Bob’s wife, JoAnne, died, she cared for their three children like her own while Bob played two more seasons until retiring.
Mom married the love of her life, Jerry Walters, on July 1, 1949. They were married for over 59 years, until our Dad’s death in 2008. Their first child, Sherryl, was born in 1951, followed by Mike in 1953, Gay in 1955 and Mitch in 1958. Their family was always the most important thing to them. They made sure we had a great family life and small-town upbringing, with lots of family activities like Sunday rides around the valley, their kids’ sporting events and homecooked family dinners every day. Mom instilled a great work ethic in all her children. She was a hard worker at home and at work. She knew no other way. We are all grateful to her for her care, concern and example she set for all of us.
She and her wonderful sister, Frances Chambers, were very close throughout her life. Mom and Frances were like “Lucy and Ethel” to their children (and, probably our Dads as well). We had lots of adventures together: summer picnics and swimming at Rowena were a favorite and one she always remembered fondly.
After we were older, Mom decided she wanted to go back to work. She babysat in her home and gave the same care to those kids as she did to us. After that, she managed the Safeway snack bar until it closed. She had the thought to open her own restaurant and received so much encouragement from her Safeway customers that she opened Bette’s Place on April 17, 1975. She poured her heart and soul into making the restaurant a success. Now everyone knows what a great cook she was! She loved the fact she could provide jobs for so many young people at Safeway and then at Bette’s, including her children and grandchildren, who worked there. My brother always said he knew Mom had made cinnamon rolls because he could smell them a block away on his way home from school. Little did she know that her cinnamon rolls would be such a hit later when she opened Bette’s Place, and their fame will live for years to come.
When she and our Dad decided to retire, she sold the restaurant to her daughter and son-in-law, Gay and Gary Jones. Even in retirement, she continued to work part time as the baker, turning out cakes and pies as well as her famous cinnamon rolls.
In retirement, she and Dad traveled all around the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They spent many winters in Arizona and Southern California, golfing, riding bikes and taking side trips to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona. She was an avid reader of mystery books and loved planting and tending to her flowers, which were abundant and beautiful.
She is survived by her children, Sherryl Walters of Vancouver, Wash., Mike Walters of Madras, Ore, Gay (Gary) Jones of Hood River, and Mitch Walters of Vancouver, her grandchildren Stephanie (Bob) Ross, Spencer (Karrie) Walters, Chelsea (Nate) Sparks, Jillian (Chris) Coel, Jubal Jones, Caitie (Richard) Powell, and Abby (Andrew Goodmonson) Walters. She was predeceased by her husband, Jerry Walters, and her granddaughter, Chloe Walters. She is also survived by 11 great-grandchildren, Conor, Hudson and Liam Ross, Audrey and Garrett Walters, Paxton Coel, Laney and Dane Powell, Mia Walters, Jordan and baby girl Goodmonson (arriving in June).
Her family would like to thank her doctor, Janet Sjoblom, and the wonderful providers at Providence Hood River Hospital, especially Dr. Jim Edwards and nurses Susan and Margo, who helped her so much, as well as providing great support to her family during her last days.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital (Mail Stop 45, PO Box 4000, Portland, OR 97208-9852) or the Make A Wish Foundation (Gift Processing, 4742 North 24th St., Suite 400 Phoenix, AZ 85016). Services were private.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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