Saturday, June 22, 2024

Betty McLain, 86

| April 7, 2010 4:30 AM

Betty Jean McLain, lifelong resident of Coeur d’Alene and longtime educator, died peacefully on April 6, 2010, surrounded by her family. Knowing Betty, she would want us to remember her with laughter and love rather than sadness. She remained hopeful and heroic in her long fight with cancer. 

Betty was born in Coeur d’Alene on Sept. 13, 1923, and lived in a float-house on the shores of Tubb’s Hill until age 3. The remainder of her childhood was spent blocks away from Lake Coeur d’Alene in the Fort Grounds. She graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School and earned her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Idaho. She later obtained a Master of Education degree from Whitworth. 

Betty is survived by her loving husband of 61 years, Charles “Mac” McLain; her four children, Susan (Jim) Curtiss of Eugene, Ore., Ellen (Don) Brown, Sarah (Tom Husby) of Coeur d’Alene and Patrick (Karen) of Ashland, Ore. She also leaves her four grandchildren, Ryan, Sarah, Marissa and Michael. Betty will be dearly missed by her many friends. She has maintained lifelong friendships from her childhood in the Fort Grounds, as well as North Idaho College colleagues and friends. So many others will remember Betty from her many clubs, breakfast groups and organizations.

Betty thoroughly loved her career in education, starting at Coeur d’Alene High School where she taught until the birth of their first child, Susan. After her four children had begun their school years, she began her long career at North Idaho College where she taught in the Business Department, serving as the department chair as well as Dean of Women, retiring in 1985. Retirement, of course, did not slow Betty down! She continued enjoying a very full life. She and “Mac” traveled to Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Betty gave much of her time serving as a trustee for the boards of Kootenai Medical Center, Museum of North Idaho, North Idaho Home Health and, so fitting, the board of North Idaho College where she served as the first female Chair. North Idaho College greatly honored Betty in 1994 by dedicating McLain Hall. In May 2009, Betty was named a “Legend of North Idaho College.” She was also instrumental in the founding of the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy. 

Betty’s family would like to express their deep appreciation for the loving and professional care they received from the staffs of North Idaho Cancer Center and Hospice of North Idaho. They would also like to extend sincere gratitude for the wonderful and loving care and support they received from the staff of Coeur d’Alene Homes. Betty’s care could not have been better.

The family suggests that memorials in Betty’s memory be given to any of the organizations that were close to Betty’s heart.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 9, 2010, at The First Presbyterian Church, 521 Lakeside Ave., Coeur d’Alene. English Funeral Chapel, Coeur d’Alene, is in charge of the arrangements.

Please sign Betty’s guest registry and view her online memorial at