William Reid Betts, 84, was born in Longmont, Colorado, on Feb. 12, 1929, to William Hubert Betts and Helen Marie Van Zant Betts. Bill’s first four years were spent on his father’s sheep ranch near Cody, Wyoming, until his father died and they lost everything during the Great Depression. Bill, his mother and older sister, Sally, moved back to Longmont to live with his grandmother.
Bill spent most of his school years in Longmont and his junior and senior years in high school at New Mexico Military Institute. After graduating, he spent a year at the University of Colorado and then joined the Navy in 1949. He served as a radarman on the USS Gainard. After being honorably discharged, Bill attended the University of Denver earning a bachelor’s degree in business. At DU he met his wife, Nancy Bigelow, and they married in 1954. After receiving his degree, Bill designed and built custom homes in the Denver area.
After a few years, Bill returned to college and earned his vocational teaching degree from Colorado State University. With two daughters and two sons in tow, Bill and Nancy moved to Castle Rock, Colorado in 1961 where for 24 years Mr. Betts taught carpentry, drafting and established the first building trades program at Douglas County High School.
In 1996, Bill and Nancy moved from Colorado to Walla Walla, WA, where they enjoyed the lovely climate and activities that included touring with their Model A and Model T cars.
Bill was a jack-of-all-trades, an able mechanic, master craftsman and artist. In addition to building homes, he enjoyed camping, fishing, crafting beautiful furniture, boats, restoring antique cars and oil painting.
Bill is survived by his four children, Jennifer Betts Leinart (Phillip) of Spokane, WA., Sally Betts of France, Christopher Betts of Littleton, CO., Daniel Betts (Sandra) of Vancouver, WA.; eight grandchildren, Reid Leinart of Cupertino, CA., Russell Leinart (Heather) of Fort Smith, AR., Benjamin Betts (Caty) of Highlands Ranch, CO., William Rizza and Celine Rizza of France, Jessica Betts of Kona, HI, Elizabeth Betts of Honolulu, HI, and Sarah Betts of Vancouver, WA.; and three great-granddaughters, Jetta Betts and Bailey Betts of Highlands Ranch, CO., and Hadley Leinart of Fort Smith, AR.
Bill was a loving husband and father, a popular teacher and a loyal friend. He will be remembered for his sense of humor and zest for life. Doing his best to cope with declining kidney function and a broken hip, the machinery of life just wore out.
A military urn committal service will take place at a later date at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Blue Mountain Humane Society or the Walla Walla VFW Post 992 would be appreciated. Please visit Bill’s online memorial at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com Arrangements entrusted to HENNESSEY VALLEY FUNERAL HOME, Spokane Valley, WA.