Betty J. (Penny) Dietrich was born Oct. 14, 1924, to Josua and Lula (McCuistion) Aerni in Trout Lake, Wash., and died Jan. 29, 2020. Her parents were early settlers in the Trout Lake Valley and operated a dairy farm. The family moved to Albany Oregon in 1936.
After she completed her schooling at Northwestern Business University in Portland, Ore., she moved to Walla Walla, Wash., where she worked for the law firm of Roberts and Hereford. She married Erling O. Pedersen in 1950 and moved to Spokane, Wash. Erling passed away in 1957. She married Andrew M. Samuels in 1962; he passed away in 1969.
After the deaths of her husbands, she became heavily involved in volunteer work, serving on the board of Spokane Symphony Society, president of the Spokane Symphony Women’s Association, chairman of the Women’s Advisory Board of the Spokane Club, various committees of the Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters International, conducted Quit Smoking Clinics for the American Cancer Society, enrolled in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Deaconess Hospital and served on the board of The Women’s Club and many other organizations.
In 1985, she founded High Places, a retreat house located at historic Fort George Wright in Spokane. When the Japanese bought the Fort in 1990, she moved back to her birthplace, Trout Lake. She continued her volunteer activities there by serving on the Community Council, the boards of the Trout Lake Arts Council, the Trout Lake Fair, the Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce and as a Master of the Trout Lake and Pomona Granges.
Her great love was everything beautiful, including the human heart. She loved the great outdoors and took rock climbing courses at the age of 52. She retained her membership in the Spokane Hobnailer’s Hiking Club all of her life and occasionally joined them on their summer outings at beautiful wilderness locations. She drew and painted her own greeting and Christmas cards. She treasured her brothers and sisters and her many nieces and nephews and many friends.
In 2003, she married Walter Dietrich whose family were also early settlers in the Trout Lake Valley. She moved to his home in Klamath Falls, Ore., where they lived until he passed away in 2006. She moved to White Salmon that fall to be closer to family and her beloved Trout Lake. In 2018, she moved to the Providence Down Manor retirement home in Hood River.
She was preceded in death by brothers Olen, James, David, Robert, Verlyn, Delbert and Ted and by sisters Edith and Gladys. Survivors include sister Maye of Franklin, Ind., and brother Dan of Vancouver, Wash.
She was a member of PEO and Alpha Iota Sorority.
At her request, there will be no funeral service. Interment will be at the Trout Lake Cemetery. Arrangements are in care of Gardner Funeral Home in White Salmon.