Betty Pelton was a very social person, who made friends easily and will be remembered for her staunch sense of loyalty, her love of fashion, and her insatiable passion for crossword puzzles and potlucks.
A month shy of her 87th birthday, the co-founder of the former Pelton Reforestation Ltd., passed away in her home last week, after a short battle with lung cancer.
Maryann Elizebeth (Betty) Nygaard was born the youngest of nine siblings in Bella Coola in 1933.
Described as a devoted wife and mother, she married the love of her life, Norm Pelton, in 1954, and the settled in Maple Ridge 55 years ago.
She worked along side Norm, a forester, in building up their reforestation company into one of the biggest employers in town.
Starting in 1967, they began with a handful of staff and grew it to more than 450 staff (about 200 of those season works brought for harvesting) and expanded from the initial rental space in Webster’s Corners to eventually become the biggest silviculture operation in the world owning 205 acres along 203rd Street – shipping more than 72 million trees a year in the Pacific Northwest.
Later in life, Betty stepped back from the business, and loved travelling with Norm, taking cruises and spending chunks of time in Arizona.
“Everything in the past 10 years or so has been about the grandchildren and family,” their son, Steve, shared. He noted the couple has two children (himself and his sister Lynn), plus five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful lady and completely in charge,” recounted long-time friend Gord Norrie, who first met Betty in the mid-1970s through Haney Rotary Club.
She was in for any excuse to go clothes shopping then enjoy a nice meal out, said another longtime friend Donna Telep, who met Betty during their joint tenure working behind the scenes with the Social Credit Party.
Calling Betty honest and upfront, Telep recalled her good friend as community minded and politically inclined.
In addition to volunteering during political campaigns for the right-wing candidates, Betty was also active for a number of years with Ridge Meadows Hospital board.
“She had a great sense of humour,” Telep recalled. “We just connected, the two of us.”
Due to COVID, Telep hadn’t seen her friend since February, sorry she couldn’t have been there during her brief illness and passing.
“Betty knew pretty much everyone in town, or so it seemed,” added family friend Wilf Jacobson. “She was very active, supportive, and just an incredible woman.”
“She was a strong community leader and wasn’t bashful in expressing her opinion,” said another friend, Gordy Robson. “She will be missed.”
There will be no immediate service for Betty, due to COVID.
“We’re going to have a celebration of life at some point, but not right now,” Steve said.
• If there is more to this issue, please let us know about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.