Betty McClendon

Obituary of Betty Virginia McClendon

Betty Virginia Morgan McClendon left this life peacefully on October 23, 2021, in her home in Bellingham, Washington. Born November 16, 1923, on a farm in Johnson County, Texas, she came within three weeks of her 98th birthday. A mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she was married to John Haddaway McClendon for 57 years before his death in 2004. They enjoyed a rich life together, traveling the globe, observing flora and fauna, and appreciating the many gifts of the Earth. John and Betty met in Tokyo, Japan, after World War II. During the war Betty worked at a weather station in New Mexico. When the war ended she boarded a repurposed Dole banana boat and signed on as a civilian secretary to the US Army in Japan. There she met a dashing first lieutenant and married him six months later. They lived wherever John’s academic career took him, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Pacific Grove, California, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, then Newark, Delaware. John finished his career as a professor of botany at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After they retired they lived, gardened, and had fun in Ashland, Oregon. She moved to Bellingham in 2006 to be near her daughter Natalie. Betty’s passion was progressive politics and she remained a staunch Democrat all her life. In the early 1960s, she served on Newark’s city council, supporting integration and vocally opposing the local KKK. In Lincoln she served on the board of directors of Lincoln Electric System, a small public utility, sold real estate for many years, and studied for a degree in Art History. Later in life she was known as ‘Coffee Betty’ for all the house parties she set up for candidates she supported. She wore her ‘Old White Woman for Obama’ button for eight years of his presidency. She was a member of the Unitarian Universalist community in Ashland and in Bellingham. Betty’s parents, Sidney B. Morgan and Lizzie ‘Elizabeth’ Whitehouse Morgan, were both from large extended families in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Her brother, Theodore E. Morgan, Sr., continued to ranch in Weatherford, Texas, until his death. Because of her long life, Betty outlived many in her wide circle of friends and relatives. She loved keeping up with her long-time friends. She is survived by her three daughters, Susan of Bellingham, Lise (Kipp Webb) of Cameron, Montana, and Natalie of Bellingham; former son-in-law Mark Turner (Brian) of Bellingham; four grandsons, Evan Phoenix (Abigail), Nicholas Webb (Kate), Zachary Turner (Kristina), and Ian Turner (Malia); and five great-grandchildren, Zoe, Kira, Terralynn, Conrad, with newborn Cooper completing the cycle of life. Betty’s family may be reached at 3100 Plymouth Drive, Bellingham, WA 98225. The family will gather at a later date to celebrate Betty’s life. Her family suggests that if you are so moved, you may make a donation in Betty’s memory to your local food bank or Planned Parenthood affiliate.
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