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Obituary: Bartholet, Beatrice Ellen Gibbs

Sun., June 15, 2014

Age 97

BARTHOLET, Beatrice Ellen Gibbs (Age 97) Beatrice Ellen Bartholet was born April 11, 1917, in Yakima, Washington, to early Yakima pioneers Sanford and Anna (Sandmeyer) Gibbs, the fourth of six children.

She was known lifelong by her nickname, “Bede.”

Her parents owned and ran the Gibbs Grocery store and she had many happy childhood memories of being on roller skates and helping with candy and fireworks sales.

When she was twelve, her father sold the grocery and bought a farm on the outskirts of Moscow, Idaho.

All six children lived at home while attending the University of Idaho, a challenging accomplishment during the depression years.

Upon graduating from the University of Idaho in 1938 with a Business degree, Bede married John Claude Bartholet, a Washington State University Army ROTC Civil Engineering graduate.

They had been introduced by a mutual cousin.

Thus began a life of adventure and travel, first following Washington State Highway jobs, then as an Army wife following John’s career as a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers officer.

They lived in Clarkston, Pasco, Dayton, Cle Elum, Yakima and White Pass.

Then John took an Army assignment to build an airfield in Alaska.

Bede stayed behind in Moscow, Idaho, until their first son John Claude “Jack” III was born in 1940, then traveled to Ketchikan, Alaska, to be with her husband.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, all wives and children were evacuated back to the continental United States.

Bede returned to Moscow, Idaho, where second son Stephen James was born in 1942.

Next assignment was New York but followed by John receiving orders to the European Theater of Operations of World War II.

Bede spent most of the war years living in Spokane, Washington where daughter Jane Louise was born at the U. S. Army Ft. George Wright Hospital in 1944.

Post war years found them at Cascade Locks, Oregon and then Ft. Warren at Cheyenne, Wyoming where son Thomas Gibbs was born in 1948.

Next postings were to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, and Westover Field, Massachusetts.

John was then assigned to establish Army ROTC at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It was while in Milwaukee that two more children arrived, Michael Alan in 1951 and Nancy Lauretta in 1952.

The family then moved on to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

In 1955 came the assignment that was a highlight for the entire family, three years in Tokyo, Japan where fifth son and seventh child, William Gerald was born in 1956.

Assignments to follow were to Ft. Lewis, Washington; Norfolk, Virginia; and Ft. Monroe, Virginia.

We remain amazed by Bede’s enthusiasm for the adventure of each new assignment and the hard work of packing up and moving this large family so often.

She was a wonderful mother with a positive upbeat attitude that carried her through life.

In 1964 came retirement where John and Bede were eager to be back in the Pacific Northwest near family roots.

There were a few years in Tacoma, Washington as well as Moscow, Idaho (where Bede was a secretary in the Agricultural Education Department of University of Idaho) before settling into their long-term retirement years in Yakima, Washington in 1974.

They enjoyed traveling, much of it by RV motorhome, as well as trips to Europe and Asia.

Bede especially enjoyed her friends in Yakima’s AAUW Literature Group and volunteering for the local guild at Yakima Memorial Hospital.

Bede was active in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, both in college and as an alumni earning their rare 75-year pin.

In 2003 John and Bede relocated to an assisted living community in Spokane, Washington because John was in declining health.

While John passed away in 2006, Bede maintained an active and busy lifestyle well into her mid-90’s.

Reading, sewing and quilting were her favorite hobbies.

Bede was preceded in death by her husband John, one son Stephen; her parents, Sanford and Anna Gibbs; her sisters, Ethelyn Gibbs, Cecelia Davis, Lauretta O’Shea; and her brothers, Raphael Gibbs and Harold Gibbs.

She is survived by her children, John “Jack” (Deanna) Bartholet of Columbus, Georgia; Jane (Jim ) Bonner of Montclair, Virginia; Thomas Bartholet of Laguna Hills, California; Michael (April) Bartholet of Longmont, Colorado; Nancy Lauretta Hickman of Spokane, Washington; and William (Kristin) Bartholet of Issaquah, Washington, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We wish to extend thanks and appreciation for Bede’s excellent care in her later years to assisted living nurses Sherry Touchette and Cal Marston, Hospice of Spokane’s nurse Kris Englert, Dr. William Roth, and the numerous hard-working employees in the caregiving field.

Whether you are caregivers, dining staff, activity staff, housekeepers, or receptionists, your good work makes a difference.

A celebration of Bede’s life will be held Friday, June 20, at 11am at Heritage Funeral Home, 508 N. Government Way, Spokane, WA 99224, to be followed by graveside inurnment at Riverside Cemetery (same location).


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