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Elizabeth "Betty Ann" Barton Gabor

May 4, 1930 - January 5, 2024

Betty Gabor was a woman who took independence to an art form. She collected friends like treasures and maintained her active social network until the very end. Friends from every chapter of her life—childhood, college, work, married life, and retirement—recall her sharp wit, welcoming personality, kindness, and willingness to share ideas and advice.

Betty was born during the Great Depression in Wabasha, Minnesota, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.  Though she grew up on a Mississippi River farm, her connection with cows was limited to evading them—she much preferred riding the plow horse bareback. 

Betty’s adventurous spirit led her to the West Coast, where she briefly settled in Oakland at a women’s residence, eventually making a 52-day, 7600-mile trip with three friends, meandering through the west and back to Minnesota. She had a great love of nature and fun, and worked at Glacier National Park, making friends there who later joined her in Seattle when she made her way there working as a secretary for the maritime union. In Seattle, she found community, she found healing, and she found love.

Betty met her husband, Nicholas Gabor in Seattle, marrying late in life. They enjoyed 27 years together before he passed away in 2000. They never had children of their own but unofficially “adopted” as daughters the Japanese foreign exchange students they hosted, visiting them in Japan, and with whom Betty maintained a friendship for the rest of her life.

Betty was athletic and loved to golf and ski, and exercised every day of the last fifty years of her life. She was also a prolific amateur photographer, entering and winning a spot in the Seattle Pacific University photography show. She enjoyed travel, and danced through life, literally, keeping up with the best of them well into her 80s.

Her deep roots in the United Methodist Church carried her from Kellogg to Minneapolis to Seattle. She was baptized at her home church in Kellogg and made Hennepin Methodist Church her sanctuary in Minneapolis. In Seattle, she found solace in First Church and later Edmonds, following her beloved pastor Kathlyn James. She recently returned to FUMC.

Betty lived life on her own terms, planning for her independence by moving to the Crista community in 2008. There, she relished making new friends and participating in activities with the elementary and high school students, famously showing off her playful side by dressing as the devil for Halloween.

Predeceased by her brother, Harry “Angie” Barton, and sister, Leola Barton Merchant, Betty leaves behind four nieces, four nephews, 14 "grands," and four "great grands."  She was adored by all, and most of the girls in the Barton family, from 20 to almost 70, want to be just like her when they grow up.

Celebration of Life
Elizabeth (Betty Ann Barton) Gabor
First United Methodist Church
180 Denny Way
Seattle, WA 98109

Sunday, April 14
1:00 p.m. PDT



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