Betty Hartman passed away on March 14, 2011, after a brief illness.
She was born in Toledo, Ohio, on May 2, 1918. Her father was a pathologist and for a time was the Pima County, Ariz., coroner. She took great delight in recounting countless humorous stories of her father's exploits while so employed. It was during this time, living on her parents' ranch east of Tucson, Ariz., that she developed an abiding love for the West, a love which remained with her for the rest of her life. Normally quiet and reserved, her tale of driving her father's car from the ranch to Reddington, Ariz., over roads that were little more than trails, with her two younger brothers in the back seat, was priceless.
In 1940, she began a life-changing journey when she took the train south to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to marry George, the love of her life. Fort Lauderdale was then just a few pegs up from a wild frontier town and her stories of their honeymoon on the beach south of the Port Everglades inlet, as well as her experiences living in both a tent and a thatched-roof hut on the banks of the New River, were delightful.
During World War II she and George moved to California where he was employed designing and overseeing construction of 85-foot air/sea rescue boats for the Navy. It was during this period that she traveled back to Tucson to be with her parents for the birth of her first child, Robert, in 1943.
After the war, with a promise that she would have a "real" house in Fort Lauderdale, they moved back to south Florida, and George built her a small frame house in "Starlight Landing" on the site of their previous hut. It was while living there that George designed and built a 40-foot sailboat for Gil Sayward in 1947 and Betty gave birth to their second child, Sally, in 1950.
In the early '50s George, Betty and their children began commuting each summer (first by car and later by private plane) to Northern Michigan where George designed and built many of the posh stores of the "Gaslight District" in Petoskey, stores that had their winter addresses along Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Blvd. In 1955, they bought property on the west arm of Walloon Lake and the following year built the house where they would spend "extended summers" for the rest of their lives. By this time Betty had begun a "love affair" with the North Woods to rival that of the desert southwest.
Though reserved, Betty had a keen sense of humor and truly enjoyed the company of her family and friends. She was a devoted wife and mother, a talented cook and baker and a voracious reader. She will be remembered for her quiet yet dependable presence, her love of animals, her delicious homemade apple pies and, of course, her incomparable chocolate cake.
Betty is survived by her son, Robert (Cheri), of East Jordan, Mich.; her daughter, Sally (David), of Lexington, Ky., and Walloon Lake; her brothers, Jim (Barbara) of Delores, Colo., and Robert (Charlotte) of Oakland, Calif.; grandchildren Travis, Laura, Amanda and Nathaniel; great-grandchildren, Dylan, Zacharie, Brendan and Quinnlyn; and "adopted children," Mike Green of Harbor Springs, Mich., and Jim, Katie and Cameron Reddick of Knoxville, Tenn. She was preceded in death by her parents, George O. and Grace Arveda Hartman, and by her husband, George.
No funeral is being planned. A memorial will take place at the family home on Walloon Lake this summer. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations to the Walloon Lake Association or the Charlevoix Humane Society.