Laura Elizabeth Newell

Laura Elizabeth (Betty) Burgess (95) was born in Leavenworth, Washington to W.O. and Trinna (King) Burgess of Plain. She died peacefully, ready to see Jesus’ face. The eldest of four children, she spent nearly her entire life in the mountains of Plain, where her grandparents had first settled the valley and began to farm. Betty attended school in Plain through the 8th grade, then attending Leavenworth High School. Summers were spent cooking on a wood stove for her father’s logging crew (which included her future husband Ralph) in order to earn money for business school after graduation. Betty graduated as salutatorian from Leavenworth High in 1940, at which time she turned down a proposal from Ralph in order to attend Wilson Business College in Seattle. After completing her degree, she and Ralph were married in Plain on October 24, 1942. Shortly thereafter, the newlyweds moved to Seattle to work for the war effort; Ralph at Boeing and Betty at the Exchange Building for the Navy in downtown Seattle. The couple had two sons while living in Seattle; Gary, born in 1944 and Bill in 1945. After the war was over, the couple moved back to Plain to a small one-room cabin, and Ralph began to work in the logging business for W.O.
Taking an entrepreneurial risk, Ralph and Betty decided to begin their own company; Newell Logging. During this difficult financial time, they began to build their home in Plain, living in the basement for a few years during the construction. Their son Byron was born in 1951, and the family was finally able to move into their completed house shortly before their daughter Lisa was born in 1954.
Betty was a dedicated homemaker and excellent cook with an extraordinary gift for hospitality. She passed down the knowledge of baking pies to her children and grandchildren, who all cherish memories of her rolls, pies and delicious cooking. She demonstrated her bread baking skills for the Homemakers Club with the Chelan County Extension, and her recipes were featured in the Wenatchee World and a local restaurant. She was also known for her confections of chocolates and caramels, being taught by a professional candymaker/friend. Betty was an active member of Plain Community Church. She served as Sunday School teacher and was secretary/treasurer for over 40 years. She was also the bookkeeper for Newell Logging.
Ralph and Betty were gracious hosts, opening their home to Rotary exchange students and many others who needed a place to live. One guest in particular became like a daughter; Ulla Groth from Denmark. After their swimming pool was installed, their home became the place to be in the summer for many young families in the community, as it was the ‘only’ pool in Plain. Her children and grandchildren have great memories of swimming, huckleberry picking, snowmobiling, cider pressing, and enjoying meals on the deck. Betty and Ralph enjoyed traveling extensively in their later years, visiting Ulla and her family in Denmark numerous times as well as their exchange students in New Zealand and Thailand. They had a wonderful trip to Russia with their dear friends Anita & Peter Deyneka and to observe their ministry in Russia. They also traveled to Australia, China, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and many locations in the United States.
Betty and Ralph were married for nearly 64 years before Ralph passed away in 2007. She remained in her home as long as possible with the particular help of daughter-in-law Leesa, granddaughter Jaimi and husband Nick Krenz and caregiver Joyce Williams. The tremendous ice storm of 2012 precipitated the move to Mountain Meadows in Leavenworth, where Betty spent 5 years enjoying the company of old friends and making new ones. Betty was preceded in death by her husband Ralph, parents W.O. and Trinna Burgess, son Gary Newell, daughter-in-law Diana Newell, brother W.T. Burgess, sister Barbara MacPherson and infant granddaughter Elyse Newell. She is survived by sons Bill Newell (Debbie), Byron Newell, daughter Lisa (Keith) Goehner, daughter-in-law Leesa Broker and sister Carol Adamson. Her grandchildren are Michelle (Paul) Rodgers, Nathan (Kendall) Newell, Brendan (Tiffany) Goehner, Adam (Amanda) Newell, Heidi (Josh) Hill, Jaimi (Nick) Krenz, Benj Goehner, Lindsey (Tyrel) Sandelin, Brett Newell and Leah (Evan) Parton. She has 18 great-grandchildren and many beloved nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Mountain Meadows for their dedicated care and creating a home-like atmosphere for Betty’s final years. If desired, donations in Betty’s memory can be made to: A Family for Every Orphan Mountain Meadows PO Box 34628 #37939 320 Park Ave Seattle, WA 98124-1628 Leavenworth, WA 98826. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 15, from 3-to-7 p.m. at Ward’s Funeral Chapel. A memorial service will be held at Plain Community Church on Thursday, May 17 at 1 p.m. Ward’s Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

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