In memory of
Elisabeth Clare Hill "Betty" Balmer
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Memorial service begins in 48 days
In memory of
Elisabeth Clare Hill "Betty" Balmer
Elisabeth 'Betty' Clare Hill Balmer Nov. 27, 1928 - March 6, 2019 Elisabeth "Betty" Clare Hill Balmer died peacefully in her home March 6, 2019, at the age of 90. Betty was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; an accomplished musician and piano teacher; a friend to hundreds across the country and around the world; and a warm and vibrant soul who brought emotional intelligence and a positive outlook to every situation she encountered and every relationship she had. Betty was the first of three children born to John L. and Esther (Bottorf) Hill in Longview, Wash. Esther taught piano lessons to generations of local students and also ran a boarding house for teachers, despite being wheelchair-bound, a result of childhood polio. Betty quickly learned to help her mother with the boarding house and with caring for her younger sister, Patty Jo and brother, Jim. Her father operated several small businesses and was an avid outdoorsman. Betty was a good student and a cheerful child, taking piano and ballet lessons, accompanying dance classes and vocal and instrumental soloists, and in high school working summers at the Long Bell Lumber Company, making cardboard boxes. She graduated from high school in 1946 and enrolled at the University of Washington where she majored in music, pledged with Pi Beta Phi, and also was active in Mu Phi Epsilon, the music-oriented honor sorority. Two young college students began a remarkable 70 year adventure together in April 1947 when Betty, 18, met Don Balmer, then 20, a political science major from Portland, at a YMCA/YWCA weekend camp. They were married Sept. 12, 1948 at the Longview Community Church. Betty and Don returned to UW, where Betty received her BA in 1950 (Phi Beta Kappa), and Don continued his graduate work. In 1951, Don was hired as a second professor in the tiny political science department at Lewis & Clark College, and they happily moved to Portland. Although they traveled widely and had academic stays in Washington, D.C., Britain and California, Lewis & Clark and Portland were their home base for the rest of their lives. And the couple soon became (in the words of a small sign on their SW Lancaster Road mail box) "Don, Betty and the Boys," with the births of Tom, Paul, Andy and Dan during the 1950s. From her piano studio at home, Betty gave the gift of music to hundreds of students from the 1950s into the first decade of this century. Betty taught piano to several of her grandchildren and loved playing duets with them. Betty and Don were politically active Democrats, regular attendees and leaders at a number of United Church of Christ churches and enthusiastic music supporters. Betty sang in many church choirs and played piano and organ at church services and weddings for many years. She remained an active member of Mu Phi Epsilon and held several national offices, served as president of the Oregon Music Teachers Association, and was a longtime board member and volunteer with Young Audiences. Except for a quick honeymoon trip to Victoria BC in 1948, Betty and Don had not traveled abroad until the late 1960s. But once they did, they never looked back. They ventured to China, New Zealand and Australia, Greece, the (then) USSR, and multiple times to Canada, Britain and across Europe. But they felt a particular connection with Scotland, where they spent many months with LC student groups and on their own. They developed the closest of friendships with a diverse group of Scottish academics and other fascinating characters, luring many of them for extended visits to Oregon. In 2005, Betty suffered a severe spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis below the neck. Over many months she made a remarkable recovery and learned anew to feed herself, walk, drive, and even to play the piano. With Betty's injury and Don's increasing physical limitations because of Parkinson's, they gave up their home of almost 45 years and moved to Terwilliger Plaza in 2006. At Terwilliger, they became active participants in a community of engaged, like-minded souls. For several years, Betty coordinated the Friday night concert series. In 2014, Betty's many friends at LC and beyond raised money for the college to purchase a Steinway grand piano in her honor. At the dedication ceremony, Betty and her duet partner, Leeanne MacColl; Betty's grandson Elliott; and LC music faculty performed on the new instrument. Life for Betty took a diffcult turn in 2016, when Don fell and broke his hip, and it became clear that she could no longer care for him on her own. They moved into assisted living at Terwilliger Plaza, where Don died in April 2017 from complications of Parkinson's disease. In her final years, Betty enjoyed the company of family and friends, occasionally attending church or concerts, but she never really recovered from the loss of her lifelong love. She died peacefully after a short time on hospice care. Betty is survived by her brother, Jim Hill, and his wife Christine; and by her sons and their families: Tom (Mary Louise McClintock) and their children, Rebecca and Paul; Paul (Kerry) and their children, Sam and Molly Elisabeth (and Paul's grandson, Ben); Andy (Patricia) and their sons Noah (Ayla Gams) (and their son Jonny Robin) and Tim (Leiana Jagolino); and Dan and his sons, Elliott and Ansel. Betty's younger sister, Patty Jo Caploe, died in 1998; her beloved husband and partner Don in 2017; and her grandson Robin in 2014. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m., May 5, 2019, at Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Balmer Scholarship Fund at Lewis & Clark College. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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In memory of
Elisabeth Clare Hill "Betty" Balmer
Elisabeth 'Betty' Clare Hill Balmer Nov. 27, 1928 - March 6, 2019 Elisabeth "Betty" Clare Hill Balmer died peacefully in her home March 6, 2019, at the age of 90. Betty was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; an accomplished musician and piano teacher; a friend to hundreds across the country and around the world; and a warm and vibrant soul who brought emotional intelligence and a positive outlook to every situation she encountered and every relationship she had. Betty was the first of three children born to John L. and Esther (Bottorf) Hill in Longview, Wash. Esther taught piano lessons to generations of local students and also ran a boarding house for teachers, despite being wheelchair-bound, a result of childhood polio. Betty quickly learned to help her mother with the boarding house and with caring for her younger sister, Patty Jo and brother, Jim. Her father operated several small businesses and was an avid outdoorsman. Betty was a good student and a cheerful child, taking piano and ballet lessons, accompanying dance classes and vocal and instrumental soloists, and in high school working summers at the Long Bell Lumber Company, making cardboard boxes. She graduated from high school in 1946 and enrolled at the University of Washington where she majored in music, pledged with Pi Beta Phi, and also was active in Mu Phi Epsilon, the music-oriented honor sorority. Two young college students began a remarkable 70 year adventure together in April 1947 when Betty, 18, met Don Balmer, then 20, a political science major from Portland, at a YMCA/YWCA weekend camp. They were married Sept. 12, 1948 at the Longview Community Church. Betty and Don returned to UW, where Betty received her BA in 1950 (Phi Beta Kappa), and Don continued his graduate work. In 1951, Don was hired as a second professor in the tiny political science department at Lewis & Clark College, and they happily moved to Portland. Although they traveled widely and had academic stays in Washington, D.C., Britain and California, Lewis & Clark and Portland were their home base for the rest of their lives. And the couple soon became (in the words of a small sign on their SW Lancaster Road mail box) "Don, Betty and the Boys," with the births of Tom, Paul, Andy and Dan during the 1950s. From her piano studio at home, Betty gave the gift of music to hundreds of students from the 1950s into the first decade of this century. Betty taught piano to several of her grandchildren and loved playing duets with them. Betty and Don were politically active Democrats, regular attendees and leaders at a number of United Church of Christ churches and enthusiastic music supporters. Betty sang in many church choirs and played piano and organ at church services and weddings for many years. She remained an active member of Mu Phi Epsilon and held several national offices, served as president of the Oregon Music Teachers Association, and was a longtime board member and volunteer with Young Audiences. Except for a quick honeymoon trip to Victoria BC in 1948, Betty and Don had not traveled abroad until the late 1960s. But once they did, they never looked back. They ventured to China, New Zealand and Australia, Greece, the (then) USSR, and multiple times to Canada, Britain and across Europe. But they felt a particular connection with Scotland, where they spent many months with LC student groups and on their own. They developed the closest of friendships with a diverse group of Scottish academics and other fascinating characters, luring many of them for extended visits to Oregon. In 2005, Betty suffered a severe spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis below the neck. Over many months she made a remarkable recovery and learned anew to feed herself, walk, drive, and even to play the piano. With Betty's injury and Don's increasing physical limitations because of Parkinson's, they gave up their home of almost 45 years and moved to Terwilliger Plaza in 2006. At Terwilliger, they became active participants in a community of engaged, like-minded souls. For several years, Betty coordinated the Friday night concert series. In 2014, Betty's many friends at LC and beyond raised money for the college to purchase a Steinway grand piano in her honor. At the dedication ceremony, Betty and her duet partner, Leeanne MacColl; Betty's grandson Elliott; and LC music faculty performed on the new instrument. Life for Betty took a diffcult turn in 2016, when Don fell and broke his hip, and it became clear that she could no longer care for him on her own. They moved into assisted living at Terwilliger Plaza, where Don died in April 2017 from complications of Parkinson's disease. In her final years, Betty enjoyed the company of family and friends, occasionally attending church or concerts, but she never really recovered from the loss of her lifelong love. She died peacefully after a short time on hospice care. Betty is survived by her brother, Jim Hill, and his wife Christine; and by her sons and their families: Tom (Mary Louise McClintock) and their children, Rebecca and Paul; Paul (Kerry) and their children, Sam and Molly Elisabeth (and Paul's grandson, Ben); Andy (Patricia) and their sons Noah (Ayla Gams) (and their son Jonny Robin) and Tim (Leiana Jagolino); and Dan and his sons, Elliott and Ansel. Betty's younger sister, Patty Jo Caploe, died in 1998; her beloved husband and partner Don in 2017; and her grandson Robin in 2014. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m., May 5, 2019, at Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Balmer Scholarship Fund at Lewis & Clark College. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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Memorial service
 
5
Sunday, May 5
02:00 PM
Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College
OR 97201
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