Former Kasilof resident Bettieann Patricia Baldridge died Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003, at the home of her daughter in Carnation, Wash. She was 73.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Kingdom Hall on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. A celebration of life will follow at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Mrs. Baldridge was born March 20, 1930, in Portland, Ore., to Ernest and Mildred Karlen. She grew up on dairy farms in the Portland area with her sister, Shirley.
"She had a happy childhood and spent her time helping with the cows, riding horses, playing the piano and enjoying special times with her extended family at Swiss dances and picnics," her family said.
Mrs. Baldridge graduated from Gresham Union High School in 1948 and married E.C. Schmidt of Gresham, Ore., the same year. They had two children. Mrs. Baldridge moved to Alaska later with her children to join her mother and stepfather.
As a single parent, she helped manage the Naptowne Inn in Sterling with her parents. There she met her second husband, J.F. Baldridge. They homesteaded in Anchor Point in 1958, having four more children.
After divorcing in 1971, she spent time in Oregon, where she attended and graduated from Bryman College. She then settled in Kasilof near her mother and sister. She worked as a secretary for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in Soldotna until she retired.
"She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and was proud of all their accomplishments. In spite of failing health due to heart complications, she made special efforts to attend all high school and college graduations and weddings as they came along. She had a lifelong love for animals and always had a dog and several cats. In younger years, she loved horseback riding and had pet geese that followed her around and sat on her lap," her family said.
"In later years, she enjoyed trips to Hawaii and the Lower 48 with her children and families. She was a pro at the daily crossword puzzles in the newspaper, liked going for walks and picking berries. She loved pretty things and enjoyed shopping."
After her third open heart surgery, in 2001, she began spending winters with her daughter, Judith, in Carnation, returning to Alaska in the summers.
"Her gentle, loving ways will be deeply missed," her family said. "She was a true lady all her life."
Mrs. Baldridge was preceded in death by her mother and stepfather, Mildred and Juel Nielsen; her father and stepmother, Ernest and Mildred Karlen; and her grandson, Jason Baldridge.
She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Patrick and Carol Schmidt of Anchorage, Jamie and Joy Baldridge of Soldotna and John and Sheilah Baldridge of Fairbanks; her daughters and sons-in-law, Suellen and Robert Thompson of Ninilchik, Jeanine and Bill Garry of Eagle River and Judith and Alastair Cecil of Carnation; her grandchildren, Curtis Schmidt and his wife, Margaret, Audra Fritz and her husband, John, Heidi Thompson, Patrick Thompson and his wife, Denise, Ryan and Derek Baldridge, Erin and Megan Wahrenbrock, Benjamin Garry and Jeremy and Jeffery and Jacob Baldridge; her great-grandchildren, Aliann and Danica Schmidt and Joshua Fritz; her sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Grant Fritz of Kasilof; and her stepbrother, Wayne Nielsen of Tucson, Ariz.
Arrangements were handled by Bleitz Funeral Home in Seattle.
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