Betty Lou (Christensen) Eakin was small in stature but a giant in the lives of her family. She passed away peacefully on Nov. 4, surrounded by her family, just days after her 93rd birthday. Betty Lou was active and independent up to her final days, which we are all so thankful for.
The only girl in a family of six boys, Betty was born in Sioux City, Iowa. As a child, she also lived in Newell and Ellsworth, Iowa; Seattle, Wash.; and Lohrville, Iowa. She graduated from Lohrville High School, where she was voted “May Queen.” During WWII, Betty moved to Seattle, Wash., to work at the Port of Embarkation. At war’s end, she moved back to Iowa and married James R. Eakin. After opening a cafe called “Eakin’s Lunch,” they had their first child, Diana. They moved to Yakima, Wash., where they had three more children, Nancy, Ken and Dan.
Betty and James retired to Whidbey Island, Wash., in 1980. Betty spent the last 39 years of her life overlooking Puget Sound in the same house that her grandparents, Arvid and Mary Larson, had owned.
Betty was an active person her entire life. She always worked extra jobs, including helping run family restaurants, seasonal cannery work, delivering newspapers, and screening luggage at the Yakima Valley Municipal Airport. She had been a beloved 4-H leader in both Yakima and Whidbey Island for many years. She was a member of the Island County Horse Drill Team, and was a dedicated volunteer for the HOPE handicapped riding program. She and James were active South Whidbey Lions Club members for many years. Betty supported Jim in his many endeavors, including operating the “Weenie Wagon” food concession at the Island County Fairgrounds for several years, where they fed 4-H members and others at horse events and the fair.
Betty’s large family consists of her four children and their spouses: Diana L. (Eakin) Putney and Roger Hunt, Nancy R. (Eakin) and Lanny Bonsen, Kendall J. and Melanie Eakin, and Daniel R. and Diane Eakin; 11 grandchildren, Erin (Putney) and Jeff Hanson, Corey and Kim Bonsen, Crystal (Bonsen) Wagner, Cassie (Bonsen) and Dan Radder, Jake and Sarah Eakin, Kaley (Eakin) and Clay Burke, Phillip and Clarissa Eakin, Victoria (Eakin) and Nathan Morris, Analissa (Eakin) & Ethan Jobb, Katie Eakin, and Alex Eakin; 17 great-grandchildren (with two more on the way); plus numerous nieces and nephews. She made each and every one feel that they were loved and special to her.
Betty was an accomplished horsewoman, and bestowed her love of horses and dogs to each of her children. She taught her family to be independent thinkers, to do what was right, to treat people fairly, and to love family fiercely. Words can not fully express how dearly Betty was loved by her family and friends. She will be missed by all who knew her.