BETTY ‘GENE’ SWEEK
Dec. 4,1926 – Feb. 15, 2023
Betty Gene was born to Elsie and James Willey December 4, 1926, in Tacoma Park, MD. Her father insisted on calling her Betty, and her mother preferred Gene so they named her Betty Gene. When Gene got older, she chose to be called by her middle name Gene, and so it was for the rest of her life.
She met and married Lt. Jack Sweek at the end of World War II. A Pendleton soldier, he was attending the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, when a car drove up with 3 girls on a hot August night in 1945, all but one having “blind” dates with each of the 3 soldiers. When the men came out of the barracks, Jack stated, “Who owns the car?” Gene said she did – and Jack declared, “You are my date.” Married in October of the same year, Gene and Jack started on a journey that would take them to Florida for their honeymoon, back to Carlisle, to Waco, Texas, to Pendleton, where she gave birth to her first child a son. They then moved back to Carlisle, where her second child, a girl was born, then to West Virginia and back to Pendleton for 70 years, which included the birth of her third child, a son.
During her 96 years on this earth, besides being the proud mother of 3 successful children, she was a sorority queen, a Bridge Life Master, an award-winning bowler, taught Sunday school at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where she served as secretary. Gene was President of the Ladies Auxiliary for the Pendleton Elks Lodge No. 288, First Lady for her husband’s tenure as Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge and as President of the Oregon State Elks Association. She was a self-taught knitter of sweaters with intricate animals, birds and outdoor scenes and she would knit tiny hats for the premature babies born at OHSU, where her daughter Teresa, worked as an RN.
She was predeceased by her parents, her husband, Jack and daughter-in-law Marsha Sweek (Larry) and her “Sister from Another Mister,” Cousin Helen “Hennie” Davis Gess and Lacy, a Yorkie who was her constant companion for 14 years.
Surviving are her three children, Larry, Teresa (Eric) and Tim, and his beloved dog, Spanky who came to visit Gene with him. Her beloved grandchildren, Eric III (Chanda) and Corey (Genny) from Eric Jr and Teresa, and Jeni, and Tanner from Tim. Great grandchildren, Rylea, Lexi and Justice from Jeni, and Gaelyn and Eric IV from Eric III, and from Corey and Genny two “Fur-G-G-Kids,” Milly and Fynn. Two great great grandchildren from Rylea and Chris, Brooklynn and Sawyer, and from Lexi and Erick, one great great grandchild, Julius.
A memorial service will be held at a future date. Online condolences may be sent to www.pioneerchapel.com.