Elizabeth June Maki Kessel, of Spokane, died Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane. She was 86.
Betty was born on June 6, 1927, in the Finnish-American community of Owen, Wis., to immigrants Nestori and Maria Liikanen Maki. Betty grew up on a dairy farm and graduated from Owen High School. After high school, Betty attended the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, earning her bachelor’s degree in home economics. While working as the county extension agent in Phillips, Wis., Betty met the love of her life, Robert Kessel. They were married Dec. 23, 1950. Betty earned her master’s degree from the University of Idaho, and later her doctoral degree from Washington State University.
Betty and Robert remained in Moscow, Idaho, for over 30 years, where Betty taught home economics at the University of Idaho until retiring in 1987. They spent their retirement in Las Vegas and later in Texas until Robert’s passing in 2010. Betty moved to Spokane in 2012, where she resided at Harbor Crest until her death.
Betty enjoyed many facets of life including playing bridge, gardening, cooking and sewing, but most of all raising her four children. Betty was fluent in speaking, reading and writing Finnish until her death. She made several visits to Finland, the last in 2011.
Betty is survived by her children Fred (Gutch) Kessel of Townsend, Mont., Richard (Nancy) Kessel of Universal City, Texas, Mary (David) Thomsen of Winthrop, and Jane Button of Cheney, Wash. She is also survived by her ex-son-in-law Ed Button of Moscow, seven grandchildren (Rob Kessel, Joe Kessel, Nick Button, Ross Button, Maggie Kessel, William Kessel and Sam Thomsen), and three great-grandchildren. Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, and granddaughter Katie Button.
Funeral services were on Tuesday (May 27) at Short’s Funeral Chapel with Pastor David Daugs presiding. Vault interment followed at Viola Cemetery in Viola, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to Shriner’s Children Hospital, P.O. Box 2472, Spokane, WA 99210, or to any charity of the donor’s choice.
Short’s Funeral Chapel of Moscow has been entrusted with arrangements and online condolences may be left at www.shortsfuneralchapel.com.