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Elizabeth Josephine "Betty Jo" (Arnold) Agrons


Elizabeth Josephine "Betty Jo" (Arnold) Agrons Obituary
Betty Jo Agrons died at her Klamath Falls home on May 11, 2009. She was 83 years old.
Elizabeth Josephine Arnold was born in Lebanon, Cloud County, Kan., on Dec. 11, 1925. She was the youngest of four children born to Ira Vernon Arnold and Ruby Alice (Pitman) Arnold.
Shortly thereafter, they moved to nearby Concordia, where Betty Jo grew up. She was a straight A student at Concordia High School when the family emigrated to Sacramento, Calif. She graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1943 and enrolled in Sacramento Junior College, where she never had a grade that was not an A. Betty Jo transferred to the University of California at Berkeley as a junior.
Betty Jo met her future husband, Bernie Agrons, at a service club dance at Camp Kohler near Sacramento on May 25, 1944. Neither ever dated anyone else. He was a soldier in the Army Signal Corps. Attached to the Sixth Army, his unit served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater and participated in Northern New Guinea and Central Philippines campaigns and the early occupation of Japan.
Betty Jo was there to greet him when he was discharged at Camp Beale, Calif., on Feb. 10, 1946. They became engaged on Feb. 14 and were married in Sacramento on July 21.
The couple lived in Philadelphia, Pa., where Bernie worked in his father's business for three years. Never idle, Betty Jo was employed as a bookkeeper during that period.
In 1949, the couple returned to the West when Bernie enrolled in the School of Forestry at the University of California at Berkeley. During the next four years, Betty Jo was employed as a bookkeeper/accountant by a wood products machinery company in Oakland, Calif.
During the early years of her husband's career, the couple lived for brief periods in Elk Creek (Glenn County), Burney (Shasta County) and Scotia (Humboldt County) in California. They settled in Rockport, Calif., (Mendocino County) for a dozen years.
When the company that employed Bernie ceased operation and sold out, he accepted a position with Weyerhaeuser Co. and the couple lived briefly in Tacoma, Wash., and Plymouth, N.C., before finally moving to Klamath Falls in 1971.
The couple's children were adopted, David in 1954 and Judy in 1957. Betty Jo was a devoted mother, balancing her efforts to support her husband as he pursued his career with her duties as a mom and homemaker.
When the children were sufficiently grown, Betty Jo undertook a half-time clerical position with the State of Oregon Children's Services Division. She retired after 15 years of service and was affectionately praised by her co-workers at CSD in a memorable farewell party.
After retirement from a real job in 1981, her husband was persuaded to embark upon a career in public service. Bernie served in the Oregon Legislature from 1983 to 1991 with Betty Jo at his side as an unpaid secretary and legislative aide. She was his adviser, partner, and critic who enjoyed the work and frequently influenced his positions on important matters of public policy.
Following their retirement from public life, the couple had a trip abroad and Betty Jo's long-held desire to visit Israel was fulfilled. They traveled independently, rented a car and toured the country at their leisure. Further foreign adventures were not possible when Betty Jo was afflicted with a degenerative illness.
When she required a high level of personal care, she was able to remain at home under the care of Carol Derosier, CNA, and several others who assisted her for the past seven years.
Betty Jo died on May 11, 2009, with her husband holding her hand and Carol alongside.
A celebration of her life will be held at her residence on July 25. Family and friends will be welcomed. An announcement will be made prior to the event.
Those wishing to make charitable contributions in Betty Jo's memory might consider the Klamath Humane Society Building Fund, P.O. Box 482, Klamath Falls, OR 97601, Klamath Hospice, 4745 S. Sixth St., Klamath Falls, OR 97603, or their own favorite charities.
Published in Herald And News on May 24, 2009
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