Bette Richardson:

A Great Character, A Lasting Legacy

Bette Richardson, right, with granddaughter Deanne

Bette Richardson, right, with granddaughter Deanne

Bequest gifts to Northwest Harvest often represent legacy gifts by those who have been longtime supporters of Northwest Harvest. Their lives reflected a concern for those in need, and they wanted their estate plans to reflect those values. These gifts play an important role in supplementing the strong annual support we have throughout Washington. They allow us to meet the needs of our guests and help build our endowment and fund special initiatives to meet hunger needs in Washington. This summer, we learned of an estate gift from the estate of Bette N. Richardson. Her stepdaughter, Mary Richardson, has been working with us to ensure that the wishes of Bette be realized for Northwest Harvest. Mary’s daughter, Deanna, shares a remembrance of her grandmother Bette.

Bette was my mom’s stepmother, but because she married my grandfather before I was born and never had children of her own, she relished the role of being a grandmother to me.

From about the age of ten until my twenties, we spent holidays and several weeks throughout the year with them. We would pick out a Christmas tree on their property in the summer, and we would chop it down in December. She had bags, GIANT BAGS, of tinsel and firmly believed all trees should have tinsel thrown at them until they shimmered. She made all her own bows and never put names on the presents—able to identify them by the bows. She was an accomplished knitter and would make us socks and sweaters, as well as buying us puzzles and games to play when we were together. I still remember the life size manhole cover puzzle that was black and took months to complete. Bette refused to ever do that one again!

Bette was an amazing cook. She made elaborate dinners every time we were there. Eating at Bette’s was always a treat. She was very health conscious (my grandfather had a heart attack at the ripe old age of 49 but lived to be 83, probably thanks to Bette’s cooking) and made amazing vegetable dishes and salads. I still love vegetables and salad to this day.

Bette always had a bathtub in her house, not because she liked baths, but because that is what housed her liquor operation. She made her own fruit-based liqueurs like blackberry wine, peach schnapps and my personal favorite, cherry bounce. She would serve it in little cordial glasses or poured on top of vanilla ice cream. These liqueurs were strong! When Bette wheeled out her liquor cart you knew you were spending the night. I still laugh about the time we got rip roaring drunk with my grandparents and in the morning, Bette was up early watching our kids and making breakfast. She could drink anyone under the table.

In her sixties, Bette bought a red convertible to drive around town in, because she thought all women of a mature age should drive around in a red convertible. And because, clearly, she was a badass.

If some of this sounds like a movie, well, in my mind it kind of was. She was an amazing grandmother and we were so lucky to have her. So, while the movie has come to an end, I still have the reel in my mind to watch at any time. Goodbye Bette. I love you. And thanks for the memories.

For more information about Planned Giving, please contact Anne S. Knapp, Senior Planned Giving Officer, at or 206.390.6094.