October 12, .... - August 15, 2013
Bette was a native of Silverton Oregon, the daughter of Lela and Jim Mulkey. She was named Helen Elizabeth, but went by the name Bette most of her life. Her father was a farmer in the Silverton Hills and also worked at the Silver Falls Lumber Company. She came from a large family that included brothers Clifford, James and Jack, and sisters, Cecil, Mary, Kate and Jean. She attended Silver Cliff School, and the new Victor Point School. She graduated from Silverton High School as a member of the class of 1942. She went to work for the Palace Theater under Esther and Alfred Adams. Then as a cashier for the prestigious Johnson's Dress Shop on State Street in Salem. She met her future husband, the late Willis Dunagan, during a dance at Waldo Hills Grange. They married while he was home on leave from the United States Navy, on March 18th, 1943.
Willis was a fighter pilot in the South Pacific during the war, and being the wife of a Naval officer, in the next 16 years Bette would move 26 times. After Willis retired from the Navy in 1960 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, the family moved back to Silverton. Willis finished four years of college in three years, became the administrator of the Benedictine Nursing Center in Mt. Angel, president of the Silverton Rotary Club and mayor of Silverton during the early 1970's.
During this time Bette was raising three boys, providing them with a happy and stable childhood, and teaching them how to work by taking them berry picking throughout the summer. She applied at the Silverton Spouse-Reitz store in 1972 to keep active, she agreed to stay for 10 days and ended up remaining for 23 years.
Willis died in 1980 at age 64 and Bette was a widow until 1992, when she married Stan Neperud. Eight days after their wedding, he was diagnosed with cancer and died four months later. In 1996, she married Paul Walrath. In her later years Bette served on the Silverton Hospital Board, was Secretary and Treasurer, volunteered at the Silverton Hospital, was a member of the Hospital Auxiliary, traveled with her husband Paul, loved to garden, and entertained friends and family. She is survived by her husband Paul Walrath of Salem Oregon who lovingly cared for her and was a blessing to her and her family. Sons, Kent of Silverton, Mark of Beaverton and Scott of Folsom California, step-daughter Robin Curl of Salem, sister Kate Olsen of Milwaukie, Oregon, 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
CORRECTION PLEASE NOTE: A Memorial Service will held on Saturday August 24th, 2013 at 12 NOON in the Orchid Room at the Oregon Gardens. NOT AT 11:00 A.M. AS PREVIOUSLY PRINTED. Contributions can be made to Silverton Hospital. Arrangements are by Unger Funeral Chapel, Silverton.
Published in StatesmanJournal from Aug. 21 to Aug. 23, 2013