Obituary of Bette-Lou Yanchyshyn
Bette-Lou’s kind and generous spirit has left us, to begin an odyssey to parts unknown. She remained dynamic and creative to her final day. Her sudden passing at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on August 9, 2018 was not, as it turned out, the result of indigestion. Born in Malden Massachusetts, the youngest of three daughters of the late long-distance marathon runner Gordon Norman, and his dear wife Muriel, who established the Salvation Army in Nova Scotia, the family moved to a small and humble family farm outside Bridgetown, Nova Scotia. It was there that Bette’s life-long fascination with the wonder and beauty of nature and her deep love for her animal companions began. At age 16, she began a part-time job at Bruce's shoe store in Bridgetown, where Alice Bruce mentored her in style, etiquette and deportment, at which she excelled, developing into a woman of tremendous elegance, grace and poise. In 1954 Bette was the 22nd Apple Blossom Queen. After high school, Bette entered nursing at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax and was involved in starting the first Nurse's Union there. Organized, efficient and exacting in her work, she quickly rose into a leadership position in nursing. She was a strong believer in the equality of women and the importance of career and professionalism. Her courage and tenacity was honed in the crucible of challenges in her family life…
In 1966 her husband, Doctor Thompson Hall died tragically at age 33, leaving Bette behind to work full-time to support and raise her three young daughters, Heather, Pamela, and Sharon as a single parent, with the help of Gordon and Muriel. In 1970 she met George Long and together they lived first in the Bahamas, and then designed and built a beautiful, unique home on the mountainside overlooking the Annapolis River in Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia. Once again tragedy struck when in 1977 George was killed in a freak accident at their home. With characteristic resilience Bette rose from the ashes of these losses to begin a new chapter of her life, marrying a young landscape architect, Barry Yanchyshyn, in Vermont, and restarting her work as a nurse administrator with the elderly in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Bette applied those experiences to building a deep wisdom and understanding of life and sharing them with her loved ones, developing a mastery of seeing and enhancing the beauty of others in ways both practical and profound… from the spider in the centre of the web outside her window, to her closest friends and family. A beautiful woman with exquisite taste in clothing, and home decor, “she was my inspiration“, “a class act”, “a smart, kind, and gracious woman, with unmatched style”, “one of my favorite people… dynamic and comfortable in every setting”. She loved her Vermont cat, Willie, her Winnipeg budgie, Tweetie, and her little dawg Digby, the Miniature Schnauzer (his mamma).
This poem (author unknown) from an Anne Landers column in the Winnipeg Free Press was found in Bette’s inspirational bedside reading basket, and best describes her attitude to life, who she (hard to say) was, and what we will all miss…
COMES THE DAWN
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And company doesn’t mean security
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And learn to build all roads
On today because tomorrow’s ground
Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have
A way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers,
And you learn that you can really endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.
Bette is survived by her husband of 36 years, Barry Yanchyshyn, daughters Heather Hall (Don Strom), Pamela (John) Allen, Cher (Jon) O’Neil, and grandchildren Lief, Thomas, William, Nicholas, and Kyle. She was predeceased by her parents Gordon and Muriel (Penwarden) Norman, husbands Thompson Hall and George Long, and sisters Barbara (Thomas) Greenway, and Beverley (Gerard) DeMont. She was truly loved by family and friends, and will be tremendously missed… beyond what words can express. Farewell and safe travels on your odyssey, our dear Bette-Lou.
No visitation by request of family. Interment will be at the Riverside Cemetery in Bridgetown at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hope for Wildlife at 5909 Highway 207, Seaforth, Nova Scotia B0J 1N0 (902) 407-9453. On line condolences may be sent to www.kaulbachfamilyfuneralhome.com