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Betty Lou Anthony: Episcopal deacon, longtime Alaskan

Episcopal deacon, longtime Alaskan, great-grandmother

Betty Lou Anthony died August 9 at age 89.

She was born 90 years ago today, on Friday, September 13, 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression. Being a child of this era she learned frugality, perseverance, and a great deal of common sense.

Betty Lou was an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and served for more than 30 years. She ministered to the native people of Alaska, accompanying the bishop of Alaska to remote Alaskan villages in bush planes, touching down on makeshift landing strips. 

She did not always live in our 49th state. She was born in San Diego, California and lived in Southern California the first part of her life.

In 1975 she accepted an accounting job in Barrow, Alaska. With her sourdough starter in hand she boarded an Alaskan Airliner in Los Angeles and flew off to her new home.

While living in Barrow, the Eskimo women taught her their language, Inupiat, which she spoke proficiently. They also taught her how to use an ulu, which is an instrument used for cutting whale blubber. She learned how to sew material and fur into warm parkas appropriate and necessary to wear in sub-zero temperatures.

After two years in Barrow, she accepted another accounting position with the municipality of Anchorage. In 1980, after several years of study, she was ordained as a deacon.

While living and working in Anchorage, she met Richard David Anthony, a retired colonel in the United States Army. They married May 18, 1990 and celebrated 29 years of marriage this May.

Her family misses her.

She leaves behind her husband, Richard David Anthony; daughters, Kathryn Ann Nasiali, Judith Sue Delph, Rebecca Jo James Courie; sons-in-law, Opanyi Kivai Nasiali and Samuel John Courie; grandchildren, Robert James Delph and family, Edwin Joseph Elmer Delph and family, and Minayo Anne Nasiali and family.

Interment is at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside.

Betty Lou would have appreciated this Irish blessing, her family shared:

“And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”