Sunday, April 21, 2024

Betty Jean (Beale) Benner, 97

| December 30, 2020 1:00 AM

Betty Benner was truly Home for Christmas this year. She knew well the love of God, so how joyful she must have been to celebrate in heaven with Him, the commemoration of His entrance into humanity as the Christ child, sent to later die in sacrificial atonement for our sins.

As one of her grandsons said, "Grandma reflected that same selfless love in the kind words she spoke, the sweet-tempered nature she displayed and the thoughtful things she did for everyone with whom she came in contact."

Betty Benner was born Jan. 29, 1923, in Spokane, Wash., to William and Melba (Littooy) Beale. She grew up in a home near Hangman's Creek with her older brother, Bill, and her younger sister, Lois (White). As a young girl, Betty enjoyed piano, saxophone, drawing, tennis and ice skating. She graduated from Lewis and Clark High School and continued two more years of education at Spokane Community College.

Although she contracted rheumatoid arthritis at age 16, others noticed only her crippled hands because she never complained about the pain throughout her entire body. The disease never prevented Betty from accomplishing all she was determined to do. As one of her sons-in-law often says, "Pound for pound, Betty is the toughest little lady I’ve ever known."

Betty married her college sweetheart, Pete Benner, on April 9, 1944, in Santa Ana, Calif., while he was on leave from the Navy. Following the war, the young couple lived and worked in Spokane before they moved to Clarkston, Wash., where Pete started a business and three of their five children were born: Barbara (Gary) Everson, Mary Ann Roberge and Bonnie (Terry) Baldwin. ln 1955, Betty and Pete moved to Coeur d'Alene, where Pete began his business, C & S Glass and Paint, and they were blessed with two more children, Steven Benner and Becky (Rob) Reagan.

Betty loved caring for her children, attending their music and sports activities, being a Blue Bird and Camp Fire leader, teaching both Sunday School and Bible school, gardening and serving as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church.

When all her children were in school, Betty commuted to complete her college education, graduating from Whitworth College in 1967 and earning the prestigious Dean's Cup for highest marks. She began teaching fourth grade at Bryan Elementary, where she spent 20 satisfying years as a frequently-requested teacher with a reputation for high expectations for each child and overwhelming success.

Betty and Pete enjoyed 70 years of marriage before Pete died six years ago. For the past several years, Betty has lived comfortably at The Lodge Assisted Living. She is survived by all five of her children, 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, with another on the way. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, both siblings, her grandson, Jacob Reagan and Jacob's beloved baby, Johnathan.

As a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and teacher, Betty Benner has had a quiet, yet profound effect on many people. She would want us to remember the words of King David when he wrote in one of her favorite verses, Psalms 91, "l will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust.”

A private family gathering will be held in 2021. Yates Funeral Home is entrusted with final arrangements. Please visit Betty’s online memorial and sign her guest book at