GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Betty Lou Sterling was called to the Lord on Tuesday, August 16, 2016, at the age of 87. Betty passed away among family and friends at Benefits Hospital in Great Falls, following a brief illness.
Betty was born in Great Falls on May 16, 1929, to Lyle H. and Almona Jean Graham Mastenbrook. After attending Largent Grammar School and Great Falls High School, Betty and her family relocated to Seattle, WA, where she graduated from Lincoln High School in 1947. While enrolled at Washington State College, Betty met Richard Theodore Sterling, a forestry student and Army veteran. Betty and Richard married on June 6, 1948, in Seattle, WA, and honeymooned on the Big Hill Lookout Tower, above the Middlefork Clearwater River in Idaho. She also worked as a secretary dispatcher at Choteau Ranger Station in the summer of 1949.
Following Richard’s graduation from college in 1950, Betty worked as an agricultural computer statistician at the college and as a customer service representative with Bell Telephone. In 1951, Betty and Richard relocated to Grays Harbor County, on the coast of Washington. She gave birth to sons Paul in 1951, Brian in 1955, and James in 1962.
Betty and Richard built a home on a wooded plot of land near Hoquiam in 1964, where the two raised their sons and remained for four decades. While Richard was working as a land surveyor and logging engineer, Betty managed his business, served as an elder for the Hoquiam Presbyterian Church, and volunteered as choir pianist. Betty also proudly worked as the local Weight Watchers leader for over 10 years starting in the 70’s. After Richard’s retirement, Betty and Richard enjoyed several winters in Borrego Springs, CA, before relocating to Betty’s hometown of Great Falls.
Betty maintained an active lifestyle throughout her years, and she enjoyed lifelong interest in playing bridge, weaving, quilting, and traveling throughout the country in a recreational vehicle with her husband. A life-long devoted Presbyterian, Betty regularly attended Sunday services at First Presbyterian Church.
She was preceded in death by her brothers, Richard Lyle Mastenbrook of Seattle, and David George Tomco of Woodinville.
Betty is survived by her husband of 68 years, Richard at the family home in Great Falls, MT. Her three sons, Paul Graham Sterling and Sandra of Hoquiam, Brian Lee Sterling and Eileen of Hoquiam, James Richard Sterling of Aberdeen and special friend Laurel Peters. Grandchildren, Jeff Sterling of Aberdeen, Laurel Sterling and special friend, Chris Blume of Hoquiam, Bob Sterling and Natalie of Wichita, KS., Elizabeth Sterling Lee and Michael of Edmonton, Alberta, BC. Also four great grandsons and two great great granddaughters. She also left a sister, Barbara Jean Tomco of Granite Falls, and a brother, Robert John Tomco and Dot of Springville, UT.
Services for Betty were at 2:00 PM on Friday, August 19, at First Presbyterian Church, located at 1315 Central Avenue, Great Falls. In lieu of flowers, donations to the First Presbyterian Church memorial fund are requested. Condolences may be shared at www.croxfordfunteralhome.com.