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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Betty Mantkus’ History By Sally Shafer Burrows

My Aunt Betty recently passed away and so my Mother Sally wrote this short history.

Betty was born in Colfax, Washington to Leona Grimm Evans and Delbert Gallauger. Mother Leona, I believe, was nursing her invalid Mother, Ida Florence Grimm Evans when Betty was a baby. Betty’s Grandpa Ervin Minard Evans had already passed on. Mama Leona’s marriage didn’t last and her in-laws disowned Betty and her brother Gene. Some people wanted to adopt Betty & Gene, (they were gorgeous children) but mother couldn’t stand for that. Mama Leona had jobs in a bakery and dipping chocolates, but finally moved in with her step father, George Ramsey or “Gobby” as Betty’s daughter, Joanne, used to call him. Mother used to cuddle and swing with Betty & Gene in the evening and yodel to the neighbor. Eventually mother became a cook on a wheat ranch in Palouse, Washington and met John Dewey Shafer, a ranch hand. They fell in love and John moved them to Republic, Washington to work for his Dad for a while on another ranch. Dad’s sister Aileen helped Betty adjust to school.

Then Dad followed Grandpa to the Salmon, Idaho area because his sister Pauline’s rich husband wanted to invest in another Ranch. Dad and his family lived in a tent.

Well it didn’t have water! So, Dad moved his family to Spokane during the depression and took whatever work he could. Mom made Betty and Gene’s clothes out of flour sacks. One time when they were living on the west side of Spokane and the kids had walked to the Fox theater, Gene was tired on the walk home so Betty carried him along the long train trestle to home.

After Betty married Charles Mantkus and was expecting a baby he was drafted into the World War 2 Theater in Africa as an Engineer Corp Sergeant. Betty cane with the baby, Joanne, the cutest little blue eye blond, to live with us. “Joey” became my little sister. Eventually Betty was able to move across the street into her own home. She worked at the Fairchild PX to help support her and Joanne. (We were proud of Charles when he came home.

They moved down the street into an apartment until they could afford a lovely home on Empire and John their other child soon joined them. Betty took such good care of the home and yard, volunteered I think in Joanne’s school and taught Sunday school. She was a cook in Charles’s tavern on Monroe until they moved to Pasadena, California. I never got to see that home, but it sounded lovely with the “Betty touch”. Her children, John & Joanne graduated from school down there and started their own lives.

Charles managed two car dealerships in the area and they moved to Wrightwood, California, a ski lodge area high in the mountains. They built their dream home until Charles’s war sicknesses and driving two hours in the Los Angeles traffic to get to work got the bets of his health. The doctor recommended a dry place like Deming New Mexico.

They moved there and bought a beautiful Spanish home that a doctor had owned with a swimming pool. They had many Shriners parties and guests there. Meanwhile they took lovely trips to Europe and the Caribbean.

Betty did a lot of charity work for organizations, church, friends and neighbors. She even had an exchange student for awhile and they’ve remained friends.

Betty was a dear friend and we became closer as I got older and matured a little.

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