June 21, 1919 - Jan. 24, 2012
Betty M. Geissel of Walla Walla and formerly of Milton-Freewater passed away peacefully Jan. 24, 2012, at the Odd Fellows Home, in Walla Walla at the age of 92.
She was born to Verlin and Gladys Graham in Portland, on June 21, 1919. The family later moved to Prosser for a brief time then to Tacoma, where she attended school, graduating from Stadium High School
in 1937. She was on the swim team and excelled in art. She was offered an art scholarship to the College of Puget Sound. After high school, she spent a couple of summers working in her uncle's drug store in Athena. It was there she met Leo Geissel. On June 21, 1939, she and Leo were married in Tacoma. The couple lived in the Tacoma and Gig Harbor area until 1957, raising four children. The family lived in Richland for a brief time, then moved to Milton-Freewater in 1958. The Geissels lived there until 1996. Betty had suffered a stroke, and it became very difficult for the two of them to manage a home. Betty's youngest daughter Gretchen and her husband Greg brought Gretchen's mom and dad to live with them. In 2000, Betty lost her husband of 61 years of marriage. She continued to live with Gretchen and Greg, along with the help of caregiver, Mary Tennant, until three months ago.
Betty was a beautiful person both inside and out, loving and kind, who absolutely adored her children and grandchildren. She loved the arts. One of her fond memories was a trip to New York City, where she stayed with her cousin. She had an opportunity to see the Bolshoi Ballet and a dress rehearsal for the Metropolitan Opera. She was one of the early members of the Carnegie Art Center in Walla Walla. Betty read whenever she had time, and she took great pleasure in taking several of her young grandchildren to get their very first library card. Betty was a keen political observer. For a while she subscribed to four newspapers, including the New York Times and The Washington Post. She enjoyed her membership in the Democratic Ladies Club of Milton-Freewater. She also loved animals. She and Leo took in many homeless pets over the years.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Verlin and Gladys Graham of Woodburn, Ore.; and Leo, her husband of 61 years. She is survived by a sister, Barbara Lesher of Port Orchard, Wash.; a brother , William
Graham of Harstein Island, Wash.; two daughers and sons-in-law, Suzanne and Ron Sams, Gretchen and Greg Baker all of Walla Walla; two sons and daughters-in-law, Lee and Ellen Geissel of Umatilla, Glen and Cheryl Geissel of Walla Walla; nine grandchildren, 12
great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.
Betty had many fond memories while growing up in Tacoma, spending summers with her family in a small beach house at Sunrise Beach on Puget Sound. This is where there will be a small service held in her memory later this year.
Any contributions in her memory can be made to the Walla Walla Humane Society. xx