Betty Johnson died peacefully at home in Port Townsend at the age of 103, in the early hours of Thursday, 27 February, 2020.
Betty was born Muriel Betty Measures in Bedfordshire, England on the 29th of August, 1916, the youngest of four children. She never liked her first name, so all her life has been known as Betty. Her father was a farmer and landowner, in Northamptonshire, England and Betty had a privileged upbringing with nannies and governesses, going away to boarding school at the age of 12 followed by finishing school in Switzerland. Betty enjoyed horse riding as a young woman and was a regular follower of the local hunt.
Before the start of World War II Betty joined the Women’s Services and was an early entrant to the WAAF, being commissioned officer number 137. She served for nearly seven years, achieving the rank of squadron officer, being posted to RAF bases in Britain, and later Egypt. Betty left the services in 1945, shortly after the end of the war.
In the 1950s, she met Bob Johnson at a dinner party in a friend’s house in England. They were married on 2nd May, 1960 and lived initially in Los Angeles until Bob retired from his job in the LA City Transportation Department in 1963.
Following a short spell living in England, Betty and Bob toured the U.S. in an early RV, eventually deciding to settle in Port Townsend. After Bob’s death in 1979, Betty continued to live in Port Townsend, being active in many local groups including the PEO, a bridge group, the garden club, and was a longtime member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She was also a strong supporter of Centrum and the Carnegie Library in Port Townsend, and the American Cancer Society.
Betty loved her garden with its birds and beautiful rhododendrons. In recent years her memory deteriorated but she kept her sense of humour, and will be well remembered for her hospitality and love of tea, sherry and dark chocolate.
A memorial service will be planned at St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Port Townsend, at a future date to be announced.