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Betsy Van Nortwick

1937 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Betsy Van Nortwick

February 1, 2014 Betsy Ann Van Nortwick passed away peacefully at the age of 76. She was born in Thermopolis, WY November 12, 1937 to Dr. Robert Weston Boal and Evelyn Virginia Boal and was the oldest of three children. As a child she was known as "Sugar," a nickname that followed her for years.

As the daughter of an Army Surgeon, Betsy and her siblings moved many places and attended many schools, with Betsy eventually graduating from Fort Knox High School in 1955. She attended Oregon State University and in her first quarter of her freshman year, met the man of her dreams, Ken Van Nortwick, and fell in love immediately. After graduating from Oregon State, she and Ken married in San Francisco on June 30, 1959. This began a 53 year marriage that was as devoted and committed as any. She and Ken moved to the Seattle area when Ken began working at Boeing as an electrical engineer. Betsy taught 1st grade at Island Park School on Mercer Island before eventually becoming a mother to three children she loved immensely. In 1976 Betsy and her family moved to the beautiful Beaux Arts Village in the Enatai neighborhood of Bellevue on Lake Washington.

As her children grew Betsy was incredibly active. When she wasn't attending her children's many events she was golfing, gardening, playing piano, doing needlework, watching sports and entertaining the myriad of friends and family that she was close to. She was proud of her role on the Board of the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra. She and Ken were very active in the Beaux Arts community and developed a lot of roots and friends there. In 2003 Betsy suffered a major stroke, which she never fully recovered from. The stroke caused her many challenges, but with Ken at her side, she did not back down and did not lose her will to fight.

Betsy often said that she "worked hard and played hard." This might have been an understatement. She had a big personality and those that met Betsy almost always remembered her. She touched so many, which says a lot about the person she was. She inspired her children to set high standards and to achieve anything they set their mind to. However, Betsy can best be expressed by her love for Ken. She worshiped him and he reciprocated. Even after 50+ years of marriage she frequently referred to him as her "prince charming" and he called her "Sugar." Even at a later age she acted like a teenager who had her first crush. Their love for each other and commitment was a role model for their children and their friends. It was timeless and genuine and sweet. The years after Ken retired from Boeing he and Betsy spent all their days and nights together, cherishing every day and living life to its fullest. Her legacy and spirit endures in her children and grandchildren, all of who carry a big part of Betsy's character inside them. Betsy is survived by her sons Bob & John, daughter Gale (Doty), eight beautiful grandchildren and her brother Bob Boal and sister Ginger Wagner.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that instead you make a donation to the and that you treat others in the same way Betsy treated you. There will be no public funeral services.

Please sign Betsy's online guestbook and provide remembrances at

Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 9, 2014
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