Elizabeth Ruth (Wheeler) Steinsiek slipped away peacefully to join her old sweetheart on another adventure on Sept. 29, 2017. She was 102.
Betsy was born at home on Scenic Heights on Aug. 1, 1915, to Fred and Elvira Wheeler. She attended the old Watson Corner School and graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1933. She met her future husband, A.H. Steinsiek, while working as a telephone operator for the West Coast Telephone Company. He was an aviation radioman at Naval Air Station Whidbey and came in to wire money to his mother in Oklahoma. They were married at the Wheeler home on Aug. 5, 1943. After the war, they lived briefly in Oklahoma, Colorado and later Arizona, but spent most of their married life in Oak Harbor, where all four of their children were born.
Betsy was active all her life in the Methodist Church, serving for a time as organist, participating in circles, cooking for events and bazaars and most recently as a newsletter folder, until failing health and eyesight forced her to stop early in this century. She held all the offices in the Oak Leaf Rebekah Lodge and in 1984, she was awarded the Decoration of Chivalry by the Patriarchs Militant of the International Order of Odd Fellows.
Her family was her passion, and she greatly enjoyed get-togethers with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren held at the slightest excuse. Her driving force was the simple goal of living a useful life. Her faith and optimistic outlook kept her cheerful in the face of declining abilities, even when macular degeneration and cataracts took away her ability to read, garden and do needlework and sewing. Instead of complaining, she laughed about the peculiar distortions she saw, or the rainbows in soap suds.
Betsy and Al were an inspiration as partners in life, pulling together in difficult times, enjoying retirement trips around this country and to Germany, and each vowing to take care of the other as long as they could. After they moved into their respective buildings at Regency, Al visited her regularly, and the gentle teasing that marked their 74 years together continued. She often told him, “I’m sure glad I married you,” and he would tell anyone, “I sure do love that old girl.”
She will be greatly missed by her children and their spouses, Paul and Sumiko Steinsiek, Philip and Evon Steinsiek, all of Oak Harbor; Kathryn and Harvey Lord of Connecticut; and daughter in-law Patty Steinsiek of Bonney Lake; her grandchildren and their spouses, Carol and David Lawson of Mount Vernon, Edward and Sara Steinsiek and Jeremy Steinsiek of Oak Harbor, Richard and Ryoko Steinsiek of Japan, Joel and Amanda Lord of New York, Timothy and Aimee Wilson of Alabama, Tawnya and Travis McKinney of Spokane Valley, and Lisa and Craig Hale of Lake Stevens; 16 great-grandchildren; step-granddaughter Michelle Boyer and her family of Milton; sister Rose Wheeler of Arizona; eleven nieces and nephews and their families. She was predeceased by all seven of her brothers and sisters, her son George, and her sweetheart Al, who passed away Sept. 7, just 22 days before she did.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the First United Methodist Church, 1050 SE Ireland St., Oak Harbor.