Betty Mary Barnett

Betty Mary Barnett

Nov. 4, 1929 —  Jan. 27, 2020

Betty Barnett, long-time teacher at Clara E. Rogers Elementary School, died January 27, 2020, at age 90, in Kirkland, Wash. Betty was born on November 4, 1929, in Seattle to Astrid and Peter Hassing and grew up in the Seattle area. After graduating from Overlake (Bellevue) High School in 1947, she moved to College Place to attend Walla Walla College, where she met and married Claude Barnett. In 1952 she received her degree in elementary education and then taught kindergarten and grade one at Edison School in Pullman for five years. She took a recess from teaching to raise her two children in College Place and returned to the classroom in 1965.

Betty taught first grade at Rogers School for 12 years and then moved on to manage the library, which she transformed into a modern multi-media learning center. In the early 1980s, she set up a lab of personal computers financed by community fundraisers and pioneered the use of computers in elementary education. Betty wrote and directed over 15 Christmas and historical pageants, including the award-winning Salute to Washington State for the 1989 Centennial. She liked to inform her lessons through experience and in 1992 received the Alma B. McKibbin Award to visit sites of significance to children’s literature in the British Isles and Canada.

After Betty retired in 1999, she and Claude moved to Whidbey Island, where she enjoyed the company of friends, walking her beloved dog, Dory, and taming the landscape of their Whidbey Highlands home.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Claude C. Barnett, in 2015. She is survived by her sister, Erna Nielsen; brother, Paul Hassing; daughter, Jeanie Barnett; son, Gerald Barnett; three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial gathering will be held Sunday, March 1, at 1 p.m. at the Havstad Alumni Center, Walla Walla University.