Betty (Robinson) Gearheart Maddeford was born in Bremerton, Wash. to Royal Clarence (Roy) Robinson and Elizabeth Marguerite (Davis) Robinson on Oct. 12, 1921 and died at Careage in Coupeville, Wash., on Aug. 2, 2019 at the age of 97.
During her childhood years in Bellingham, her parents bought property on Whidbey Island in Austin on Mutiny Bay next to the 10 acres purchased in 1916 by Roy’s parents Arthur and Kathryn Robinson. Roy and Marguerite moved their family to Austin in 1935 when Betty was in the eighth grade where she and her younger brothers and sister attended the two-room Mutiny Bay School. She graduated from Langley High School in 1938. Betty attended business college in Seattle before starting a career in the title insurance and escrow fields.
Betty was married to Peter Senuty in 1942 with whom she had a daughter Marilyn. After her divorce from her first husband, Betty married Gerald (Jerry) G. Gearheart in 1948. To this marriage, Jerry brought his two children, Nicolle and Gary, to join Betty’s daughter, Marilyn, and the couple adopted each other’s children and added a baby daughter of their own, Cathy.
During their marriage, Betty’s husband’s work took them to Caspar, Wyo., where they lived in a house on the edge of the prairie, Salt Lake City in Utah, and Boston, Mass., which Betty had visited as a young woman and always loved, as well as some years back in Seattle, Wash.
Betty’s interests included playing bridge, gardening, orchestrating remodels of her homes through the years, all things French, and figure skating with her husband and children, together joining skating clubs in the cities where they lived.
Betty became a figure skating judge and skated in club ice shows and ice dance sessions. After her children were raised, she made many trips to Europe, usually for a month or more twice a year, mainly spending her time in Paris where she first studied French and later played in bridge tournaments and spent time with the friends she made in France and while visiting other countries in Europe.
After raising their four children, Betty and Jerry’s marriage ended in 1973, and Betty lived and worked in Seattle before retiring in 1980 to the Robinson family’s property on Mutiny Bay, where she taught bridge and French, originally as part of the South Whidbey Community School. For 30 years, she continued teaching bridge and French classes in her studio on the beach with its spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. All through her life, wherever she lived, Betty spent many hours working in her beloved flower gardens.
She is survived by her daughters, Nicolle Gearheart Woodruff and Cathy Gearheart Tauscher; son, Gary Gearheart; brother, Frank Robinson; seven grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren. She also leaves behind three generations of nieces and nephews.
Dropping in to have a good visit with Aunt Betty, the matriarch of the family for almost three decades, was not to be missed when family members came to the beach. Betty had many friends, among them her bridge and French students, who were also very important in her life. Betty’s recent friends included the staff at Careage who cared for her lovingly for her last two years, aided in her final months by the so very kind hospice team from Whidbey Health.
She was pre-deceased by her parents, her daughter, Marilyn Gearheart Spielholz Senuta, her third husband, Lionel (Maddy) Maddeford, and her siblings, Patritia Jackson and Roy Robinson, and son-in-law Kenneth Tauscher.