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Elizabeth McDevitt (Betty) Gardner

Elizabeth McDevitt (Betty) Gardner Obituary
Elizabeth (Betty) McDevitt Gardner

The world lost a living legend Sunday, December 23, 2018 when the incomparable Betty Gardner joined her sisters, brothers, and parents in the hereafter in time to celebrate Christmas with a jig and an Irish coffee. She was 94.

The pride of Malin Head, Ireland, Elizabeth McDaid was born April 28th, 1924. She spent her first two years in County Donegal with her older sister Mary and their mother Hannah. In the months before her birth, Betty's father John immigrated to Seattle in search of work, changing the family name to McDevitt en route. Hannah, Mary, and Betty joined him in 1926.

Their Capitol Hill home was filled with singing, dancing, and storytelling. Ice cream, her favorite, was a rare treat and it did not escape her notice that her portion diminished as four more siblings-Patrick, Ellen, Margie, and Johnny-joined the family in the ensuing years.

Betty amused and scandalized the sisters at Holy Names Academy from 1930-1942. The friends she made there were for life.

Her flair for the dramatic found expression in theater and radio production during her high school and college years. She loved music, especially performing boogie-woogie piano tunes and singing Irish ballads.

On November 29, 1947 Betty married the lucky Neil Gardner Sr.

She would have been a famous actress if not for her five children: Neil (Claudia) Gardner Jr., Mauriann Barton, Daniel (Linda) Gardner, Susan (Doug) Hofacker, and Peggy Hayes. They became her audience and cast mates.

Betty garnered fans everywhere she went, including in her north Seattle and then Edmonds neighborhoods, as a charter member of St. Matthew parish, and volunteering for the Catholic Childhood Group and Catholic Seamen's Club.

She dedicated many years to hexing teams opposing the Mariners, dominating at bingo, making sure all the parties were planned right, and never missing her 11:00 am date with The Young and the Restless.

Nana cultivated a troupe of performers, storytellers, and smart alecks in her grandchildren: Brian (Kendall) Gardner, Sarah Barton, Tara (Paul) Hayes Constant, Michael Hofacker, Angela (Dan) McNerney, Kevin Barton, Brendan (Haley) Gardner, Mary Hayes, and Joseph (Jennifer) Gardner. She imparted to them her wicked sense of humor and the importance of living life with style.

She delighted in her great-grandchildren Perry Gardner, Bennett and Bridget McNerney, and Harlow, Jaxon, Seersha, and Bodie Gardner, and lives on in their charm and cheek.

Betty passed in Shoreline, surrounded by family, including all five of her children, with Christmas carols and Irish songs playing.

Her parents, siblings, husband, granddaughter Hannah Hayes, nephews Johnny and Matthew McDevitt and Eddy and Paddy Gardner, niece Jody Sylvester, great-nephews Christopher Houlihan and Shawn Gardner, and great-niece Mairead Corrigan's corner of heaven became a hell of a lot more fun with Betty's arrival.

Her family, brother-in-law John Pringle, sister-in-law Joanne McDevitt, cousin Dennis McDevitt, and a boatload of nieces, nephews, and friends of multiple generations are missing her deeply.

We will do our best to make our matriarch proud; to never pass a garage sale without stopping and always be the last to leave a party.

We cannot express the gratitude we have for the care and friendship Rita Skurski gave Nana over the last six years. Thank you as well to the CNAs and staff at Crista Ministries.

Loving you has made us bananas, Nana.

Recitation of the Rosary will be

Friday, December 28th, at 7:00 pm,

at Harvey Family Funeral Home

508 N. 36th St, Seattle.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated

Saturday, December 29 at 10:30 am

at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 1240 NE 127th Street, Seattle

followed by burial at

Calvary Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sacred Heart Shelter: Catholic Community Services, Attn: Sacred Heart, 100 23rd Ave. South, Seattle, WA 98144-5979
Published in The Seattle Times from Dec. 26 to Dec. 27, 2018
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