Friday, May 31, 2013

Betty Clough Waddell Thomas, BHS 1941

Betty Clough Waddell Thomas, BHS 1941

(October 23, 1922 - May 8, 2013)

Betty Clough Thomas passed away quietly on May 8th at Madrone Hospice in Yreka at the age of 90. Betty was born on October 23, 1922, in Bradenton, Florida to Riley and Belle Waddell. Betty moved as a young girl to Southern California and grew up in Burbank when it was still farms and orchards graduating from Burbank High School. She was one of six children.

Betty worked as a seamstress for a time at Paramount Pictures and soldered wiring harnesses for Lockheed Air where she met and later married Gordon Thomas. When Gordon became a young airman in the Army Air Corps Betty followed him to Texas where she and a friend started a successful hamburger stand they later sold when their husbands went overseas during WWII.

Following the war the couple moved to San Jose where they were joined by son Mike.

Anyone who knew Betty knew she was an entertainer at heart and was one of the founding members of the Siskiyou Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and appeared on stage in many plays and variety shows including the famous "Wild" productions. Alaska was home for 10 years and there were wonderful stories about the road to achieving statehood and meeting such notables as John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Adlai Stevenson and Pearl Buck.

A visit to Yreka during the 40s didn’t impress Betty and she lived here for a time in the 50s but when she returned in 1960 it became home and she remained here until her passing.

Betty worked for Siskiyou County for 20 years in the County Clerk’s Office and retired from her position in 1984. She used her retirement years to visit son Mike in Anchorage, Alaska, family in Southern California and continued to entertain and charm everyone she met.

Betty is survived by her much loved son Mike and his wife Helen Thomas of Anchorage, Alaska; sister Maxine Perez of San Diego, California, many nieces and nephews as well as numerous close caring friends.

No services are planned at this time but, as she wished, a celebration will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers remembrances are suggested to SPAC, 315 Yreka Street, Yreka, CA 96097, or Madrone Hospice, 255 Collier Cir., Yreka, CA 96097.

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