Betty L. Stump (née Imhof) passed quietly in her sleep on July 12, 2023, following a long battle with dementia. She was 87.
Betty (or Betty Lou, as her fellow ’36-ers called her) was a multi-talented woman who could pull together a BBQ for 150 people at her home, whip up dance costumes, straighten out a few wayward teenagers, and have dinner on the table at 6 pm. She might also get in a round of golf and a batch of cookies.
Betty was born in Tacoma, Washington, on April 18, 1936, to Louis and Matilda ‘Tillie’ Imhof. She had one brother, Lou, whom she loved dearly (and also sometimes terrorized).
She grew up in humble surroundings, including a hog farm in Fife and living above the Swiss Tavern in Tacoma, which her parents owned for several years. She often talked about she and her brother looking out their windows at the people living on the streets below and how she would worry about them. The Swiss Tavern sat on a steep hill and she worried that they would roll down the hill to whatever peril met them.
She was athletic, and baseball was her game as a young girl with skiing and golf as an adult. She joined the Swiss Ladies Society in 1956 along with her Swiss girlfriends. As she became a young woman, her beauty grew (although she barely reached 5’1”). She had many friends inside and outside of the Swiss community, including a bevy of beaus with whom she attended dances. She rarely went with the same boy twice, which meant she could wear one dress multiple times! (And she saved those dresses for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to play dress up in!)
One of her dance partners was a tall, handsome Swiss farm boy from Sumner, Washington. After attending Seattle University for two years (and the only woman in her math class), she married Fred Stump in 1957. They moved to Pullman, WA, where he graduated from veterinarian school in 1958. They returned to the Tacoma area and their family grew with the births of two daughters – Kris (1958) and Kim (1959). The family moved to Burlington, WA in 1960 and two more daughters were born – Kerri (1961) and Kelli (1964).
In 1967, having outgrown their first house on Gilkey Road, Fred and Betty built a house “out in the country” on Peter Anderson Road. It was in this home that Betty touched so many lives.
Betty ruled from her kitchen. Whether it was a holiday meal for the extended family, feeding hungry friends her daughters brought home, or putting together a pool party/BBQ for Swiss friends and family or the Tri-County Veterinarian Association, Betty had it covered. Need a custom cake for an auction? Call Betty. Christmas baking began in October, and she filled her freezers with cookies and breads. At Christmas, she shared plates and platters of goodies with everyone. And, if you returned the cookie plate, she’d save it and refill it for you the following year!
An excellent seamstress, Betty created matching outfits for her young daughters as well as dance and gymnastic costumes and a wedding dress for daughter, Kim, custom-designed and hand-beaded.
Betty loved having her daughters’ friends visit. She loved a good debate (Fred called them arguments,) and no topic was off limits for those who sat at her kitchen counter. Many a teenager shared their angst and woes with her while sitting in her kitchen. The garage fridge was always filled with age-appropriate drinks, and she made sure snacks were available for whatever group was in the basement or out by the pool. These were traditions she continued with her grandchildren, as well.
Once all the girls were in school, Betty decided to put her organizational skills to work and landed the job of manager for the Mount Vernon Mall. From there, following in her father’s footsteps, she bought and managed apartment buildings, doing most of the basic maintenance herself. She managed the family finances and expanded into private investments of interesting startups.
That didn’t keep her busy enough, so she took up golf. She started with hitting buckets of balls at the new driving range behind Skagit Animal Clinic. Many, many buckets of balls. Eventually, she took to the links. She was tiny, but mighty, winning tournaments and capable of successfully hitting off the men’s tees (just to prove she could.) She set up practice equipment and a putting green in the barn and continued to hit those buckets of balls at the driving range.
Betty was a devout Catholic and very involved with St. Charles Catholic Church in Burlington for many years. She was a member of Charlie’s Angels there, sang with the choir, and became a Eucharistic Minister.
Tragedy struck in 1992 when Fred suddenly passed. But it wasn’t long before she caught the eye of recently widowed, long-time neighbor, Jim Neff. They were married in 1997 until his death in 2020. Betty and Jim traveled extensively for many years, including a trip to her beloved Switzerland, as well as South Africa and the Panama Canal.
From her marriage to Fred, Betty is survived by daughters, Kris Adams, Kim McSheridan, and Kelli (Chris) Stangel; grandchildren, Shawn and Nick Adams, Alex and Kendra McSheridan, Amanda (Jacob) Winter, Chris, Matt, and Aaron Beaulaurier, Casey (Jordan Getzelman) Stangel and Emmitt Stangel; great-granddaughter, Bailey Green.
From her marriage to Jim Neff, Betty is survived by stepsons, Marc (Mary) Neff, Doug (Rebecca) Neff, and Kevin Neff; grandchildren, Ryan (Michelle) Neff, Marty (Rosie) Parker, Marissa (Casey) Waddell, Jay (Stefanie) Neff, Lindsey (Gilberto) Rosales, Michael Neff and Ashley Neff; great grandchildren from the Neff family, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Betty was preceded in death by husbands, Fred Stump and Jim Neff; daughter, Kerri Laird; grandson, Adam Wolfe; parents, Louis and Tillie Imhof; brother, Lou Imhof; son-in-law, Randy Adams.
Donations are suggested to St. Charles Catholic Church, 935 Peterson Road, Burlington, WA 98233, the B-E Alumni Foundation-Stump Family Scholarship, P.O. Box 350, Burlington, WA 98233, or your favorite charity in her memory.
The family would like to thank the caregivers and staff at Birchview Memory Care for the kindness, care, and respect given to Betty during the last few years.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 12:15, Monday, July 24, 2023, at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, 400 N 15th St, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, followed by a Committal at Green Hills Memorial Cemetery, 11157 Gardner Road, Burlington, WA 98233 followed by a reception 2:00-5:00PM at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.
A time of visitation will be available from 1:00 to 4:00 Sunday, at Lemley Chapel.
“Hey, Mom, can’t wait to put on the matching outfits you’ll have waiting for us when we see you again! Love, the 4-Ks”