Betsy May Keener was born on a July day in 1932 on a wheat and chicken farm northwest of Almira, WA. She was joined later by a sister named Lora Belle. The girls spent their childhood doing farm chores that matched the seasons. Depression-era playtime was mostly devoid of toys so barn cats became cherished living dolls. In the summer the girls spent free time baking a large assortment of “mud pies” decorated with flower petals, grass clippings, and weed seeds to name a few. Tea was also served to all the critters who stopped in to say hello. Almira had a strong music program during her high school years and many hours were spent marching in parades or playing in the orchestra. In the spring of 1950, she was a member of the first class to graduate in the “new” high school gym. Sadly the entire school burned to the ground in the fall of 2021. In the fall of 1950, she headed to WSU for a semester. Her life took a new direction in Feb. of 1951 when she married a local farmer by the name of Keith Masterson. The parents welcomed a new son Thomas in June of 1952 and a daughter Cynthia in the summer of 1956. Early married life was very busy raising children, cooking for summer farm crews, caring for her flock of chickens, putting in a farm garden, sewing Christmas gifts for all the females of the extended family along with numerous other activities. When the kids got older she signed on to be an assistant 4-H leader under Jim McKay for the Almira 4-H Livestock Club. Watching high school sporting events during the school term along with transporting underage family and friends home after school practice sessions was another of the mom’s duties. Her father would not let girls work in the field but her husband was quite OK with the idea. When Tom started working as a harvest truck “spotter” in the 6th grade, Betsy would get up at “O-dark Thirty” to prepare a big harvest meal and set the automatic timers on the ovens, then head out to truck grain 9 miles to the elevator all day long. Cindy would help clean up after the crew finished up lunch and dinner meals. In the later 1960s, Betsy’s dad bought one of the first snowmobiles in the area. This led to a lot of days (and nights) out in the snow. She got to see what was over the hill on all the surrounding area fields. Sometimes the snowmobile would find things that were not welcome. Betsy was not a daredevil so she was never seriously hurt – just a few bruises. In the summer Betsy could be found riding a 90cc dirt bike on all the dirt roads surrounding the local farms. In her later years, she spent her time scrapbooking and keeping the books for her parent’s farm trust. Unfortunately, her last 7 years were spent as a resident of the Davenport Hospital nursing home where dementia slowly eroded her mental and physical condition. Betsy is survived by her son Tom at the family farm in Almira and her daughter Cynthia (Greg Robertson) of Hanson Harbor (Wilbur) WA. She is also survived by her sister Lora Belle Childers and Lora’s four children Dale, Deanna, Danette, and Delora along with their extended families. She was preceded in death by her parents Ada and Agatha (Gaith) Keener, husband Keith Masterson, brother-in-law Duane Childers, and lifelong friend Shirley Zimbelman. The family will miss her awesome pies! Memorial Donations can be made out to the Almira Cemetery Endowment Association. PO BOX 114, Almira, WA 99103. Services will be held at the Almira Community Church located at 101 S. 2nd St., Almira, WA 99103 on April 4, 2022, at 11:00 AM. Luncheon to follow. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.strate-funeral.com for the Masterson family.
Published by Spokesman-Review on Apr. 3, 2022.