Celebrating the life of Betty Ruth Clair
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Betty Ruth (Berg) Clair peacefully passed away October 5, 2023, at her home in Salem, Oregon. She was 99 years old. Betty was born on January 18, 1924, in Big Timber, Montana to Amos and Hazel (Lowe) Berg. She was the second of their four children. When Betty was 4, the family left Montana for Napa Valley California looking for work. Betty worked for the Army Air Corps at McClellan AB as a civilian employee during World War 2 working on the Norden Bombsites and automatic pilot training on the B-17, B-25, and B-24 where she trained the flight crew how to the use the equipment. It was during this time that she also received her pilot’s license. She loved to tell is how she learned how to fly a plane before she learned how to drive a car. In July 1944 Betty joined the United Sates Navy and served until August 1945. On February 28, 1953, she married Robert (Bob) Clair and together they raised four children while she worked as a secretary, minister, and her favorite job “mom”. During her and Bob’s 57-year marriage they lived and worked in California until their retirement in 1994 when they returned to her place of birth that they would call home, Big Timber, Montana. She continued living in Big Timber with her son Richard after Bob’s passing in 2010. In August of 2019, after her son Rick’s passing, she moved to Salem, Oregon to be close to her surviving daughters. Her greatest achievements in her words were: Wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, veteran, minister, teacher, and pilot.
Betty was a member of The American Legion Post 19 and American Legion Auxiliary in Big Timber and a Life Member of the VFW Auxiliary. While in Big Timber she was also a member of the Wilitgro and Hoe and Hope Garden Clubs, her garden was well known throughout the community. She was also a member of the Women’s Club, Quilting Groups and B.E.R.G. – Bombsite Employee Repair Group. Mom and dad served meals to those who couldn’t leave their homes with Meals on Wheels for 9 ½ years.
Betty is survived by her daughter Holley Yarberry (Larry) of Concord, CA; son Larry St. John (Anita) of Anchorage, AK; daughter Starla Clair Nelson of Salem, OR; and daughter-in-law Dian Ellis of Anchorage, AK. Grandchildren: Glenn Yarberry of Concord, CA; Audra Pearce (George) of Lampasas, TX; Amy Yarberry of Peoria, AZ; Jack Clair of Anchorage, AK; Paul Clair (Lora) of Bozeman, MT; Heather Clair of Lincoln City, OR; Ryan Clair of Lincoln City, OR; Nicholaus Nelson (Heather) of Marion, NC; Dillon Nelson (Katharine) of Los Banos, CA; sixteen great-grandchildren, four great-great grandchildren along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Betty was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years Robert (Bob) Clair, son Richard Clair, grandson Erik Yarberry, her parents Amos Berg and Hazel Ellingwood along with her brothers Lyle Berg, Glenn Berg, and sister Gloria Call.
Her Memorial Service and interment in Big Timber Montana will be at a later date to be determined by her family. Her daughters would like to thank the amazing nurses and aides of Traditions Hospice who lovingly provided care to their mother at the end of her life. Donations can be made to Traditions Health Hospice in Salem, OR., American Legion Post 19 or the Hospitality House in Big Timber
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