Jerold W. Betz (age 98) passed away Oct. 7, 2012 at his home in Cheney, Wash. Jerold was born May 20, 1914, and grew up on farms near Mondovi, Wash. and later near Tyler, Wash. His family raised wheat at Mondovi, then moved to Tyler at the start of the 1930s to raise wheat, hay and cattle.
He attended Tyler school and graduated from high school there in May 1932. He either walked or rode a horse to school. He went to electronics school in Portland, Ore. and while there met Doris Nichols, who was going to beauty school. They married in 1938. She preceded him in death in 2004. Jerold tried in live in Lebanon, Ore., Doris's hometown, but could not because of his severe allergies to grass pollen. So they moved to Sprague, Wash., where he worked in a grocery store. Then in 1942 or 1943, they moved to a dryland farm 10 miles from Sprague, where they raised wheat, barley and hay. They also kept chickens, for eggs and meat, a milk cow for milk and meat, and hogs for meat. Jerold fed the hay to the cow, and had some barley flaked to feed to the hogs. Doris grew a garden, canned fruits and vegetables. And they raised five children: Clayton, Rudy, Darel, David and Launa.
When Jerold and Doris first married, he hunted and fished a lot in his leisure time - birds, deer, elk, but she didn't like that, so he gradually stopped all that except elk hunting, which he continued until sometime in his 70s. Farm income was good during the Korean War, so they bought a new 1951 Plymouth station wagon, a silent 8 mm movie camera, new furniture, and went on summer vacations with friends to Seattle, eastern Oregon, and British Columbia. Jerold's uncle, Chris Betz, offered to lease his Cheney farms to Jerold, so Jerold and Doris and children moved to Cheney in 1956, where they raised wheat, barley and oats. But no milk cow or chickens; they could buy that cheaper in the store. Jerold raised hogs for a few more years, then quit that also. Doris again took care of the garden and children, and still canned.
Jerold was honored in 1968 at a Cheney banquet as Cheney Conservation District Farmer of the Year. He used contour farming, helped build a farm pond on the west farm, and other soil conservation practices.
Jerold is survived by his wife, Audrey Betz and five children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Clayton is now living in Seattle, and has two children, Suzi and Liz; they now live in southern Idaho. Launa is now living north of Tacoma, and has two children, Angelique and Jerold J; they now live near Seattle. Rudy, Darel and David all live in Cheney. Jerold and Doris vacationed in Hawaii in the 1970s, and drove to Alaska in their pickup in the 1980s – one of his dreams.
A funeral service was held Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Cheney Funeral Chapel with burial at Lance Hill Cemetery. A reception followed at the Cheney United Methodist Church. Online guestbook at cheneyfuneral.com.