Betty will be deeply missed by her son Lorne J.R. Whittles of Boise, Idaho; by her two nephews in the U.K., David Lawson of Paignton and Stephen (Kate) Pope of Portishead; by Stephen’s daughter, Elizabeth (Lewis) Naylor of Mirfield, U.K.; and by many dear friends and relatives.
Betty was predeceased by her son, Dr. Martin J.D. Whittles, who passed away in 2009, and by her sister Audrey Lawson (Dennis) and her brother Gerald Pope (Joan), in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Betty was born in 1928 in Tientsin, China (now Tianjin), to Herbert H. and Minnie Pope (née Burchfell). Her father was a veteran of the First World War and was stationed there post-war with the British Army. Upon returning to the U.K., Betty lived in various locations given his ongoing postings, including Edinburgh, Scotland, the Isle of Wight and Exeter.
Betty developed, through experiencing the devastation of the Second World War between the ages of 11 and 17, an immense strength of constitution known to those who knew her well. Betty would at times accompany her father on night fire watches during the bombings, and had many stories to share of loss and tragedy.
At the age of 14, halfway through the war, Betty’s schooling ended, and she started work in a hair salon, apprenticing for years to follow.
A month after watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, Betty and Ellis Raymond (Ray) Whittles (deceased 1981) emigrated by sea to Canada to start a new life, landing in Quebec and then taking the train to Edmonton. In 1958 they had their first son, Martin John David, and in 1965 their second son, Lorne James Raymond.
In the late 1950s, Betty was a keypunch operator for the City of Edmonton, posting their fastest times, and was offered several promotions, all rejected by her to become a full-time mother.
Betty and Ray shared a deep love for Glacier and Waterton parks, visiting them extensively, and so to be closer to both they moved to Pincher Creek in 1971 to own the Stardust Motel. Thus began many years of Betty successfully managing various motels around town. Known for her wit, personality, warmth and charm, she was a strong draw for creating repeat customers. Those same traits also served her well after the motel business, working many years in Queen’s Floral.
Betty possessed the ultimate combination of strength, humour and kindness, and was filled with life and an infectious sense of fun. She could create a laugh in just about any situation, usually with antics to make it even funnier, but always underpinned by a strength that was monumental.
She adored cats, loved to garden, enjoyed several years of “snowbird” travel to Mexico in a trailer camping on the beach, and time with her two boys. Given her wartime experience, she appreciated the little things, hated wasting anything, tracked the news and loved to read, and instilled strong values in her sons.
Betty will be missed by many, yet has left those who knew her well with many fond, funny and lasting memories.
Lorne would like to thank the front-line staff at Vista Village for their affectionate care of Betty since late 2018, and Amanda Sowiak and Dr. Ashley Rommens for their compassionate care over many years.
To commemorate Betty’s life, a memorial service will be held this summer, Covid-19 regulations permitting.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Pincher Creek Humane Society/SPCA, PO Box 2647, Pincher Creek, AB, T0K 1W0; or online at www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/pincher-creek-humane-societyspca.
Condolences may be sent through www.edensfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Eden’s Funeral Home