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In Memoriam: Betty Young

Betty Young, 59, was born December 15, 1950 in Walla Walla and died Feb. 16 in Bellingham of metastatic liver cancer diagnosed in late October.

She was with her loving and much loved partner of 31 years, Terri McMahan, and dear friend Meg Miller at the time of her death. Betty was raised on the family's centennial wheat farm where she loved to ride horses through the rolling hills.

She graduated from Washington State University with a degree in recreation in 1974 and moved to Bellingham. Several years later Betty eagerly pursued an interest in carpentry by training through local 756 and earning journey carpenter status in 1984. Betty was a pioneer for women in the trades. After several years with the union she pursued her own contracting business and in 1989 began work on the carpentry crew at Western Washington University. A year later she was promoted to supervisor.

In 1995 she left Western and worked with Glenn Hawley of Hawley's Home Repair. In 1997 she and Terri moved to Seattle. Over the next ten years, while Terri finished her career in education administration, Betty completed major renovations of three Greenlake/Phinney Ridge craftsman homes that they lived in during this time. T

hey returned to their Fairhaven home in 2008 eager to pursue a dream of working together as BTWorks on highly energy efficient new builds and renovations and to complete a renovation of their own home. Their first project, an Energy Star certified, green built residence on Bellingham's South Hill was finished in late October, several days before Betty's diagnosis. Betty spent many years mentoring others through involvement in The Road Less Graveled, a program founded in 1992 at Bellingham Technical College to teach and support women pursuing career options in non-traditional trades. This program was near and dear to her heart and last week she was honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award, a proud and touching moment.

Betty was named Whatcom Business Woman of the Year in 1994 and spent much of the 1980's contributing to local 4-H activities. Betty had a special place in her heart for "giving back" and spent time volunteering for Habitat For Humanity and many hours helping friends with various home repair projects. Betty was a "giver" with a sweet personality. Others came first and she took pleasure in teaching about her trade.

At Betty's request there will be no formal services. Instead, at-home drop-in visitation will be held Wednesday, Feb. 17 4:00-9:00, and Thursday, February 18 11:00-4:00. For directions email Betty's wish for others is to volunteer their time, give to those in need, and do something each day to make this world a better place.

In addition to Terri and their beloved cocker spaniel, Peaches, Betty is survived by brother and sister-in-law Gary and Bev Young of Walla Walla, brother Larry Young of Walla Walla, former sister-in-law Kate Venneri of Walla Walla; McMahan siblings Maureen (Chuck) Rix of East Wenatchee, Patrick (Lucinda) McMahan, Jr. of Edmonds, Colleen Sederlin of Coos Bay, Kevin (Ruth) McMahan of Mill Creek; McMahan parents Patrick Sr. (Carol) McMahan of Mountlake Terrace and Beverly Helton (Bob) of Mount Vernon. Nieces and nephews: Chris (Stephanie) Young and son Cameron, Mark Young, Ruth Anne Young, Steve (Kim) Young, Sarah Young (Derek), Sharmi Rix, Carly Rix, Cole Farrow, Ryan Farrow, Connor Sederlin, Denise Scott, Stephanie Scott, Michelle Scott, Lindsay McMahan.

Betty is also survived by wonderful cousins and Aunt Wilma Bowers of Warm Beach. She was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Mary Young and several dear aunts and uncles. Betty's special friends and family members know who they are and B & T are eternally touched by your loving kindness. Betty also wishes to thank the caring staff at Whatcom Hospice, especially primary nurse Pat Hsu.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 10:48am