Betty J. McClelland


Betty J. McClelland, 84 years of age and a longtime Harborite, died on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington. She was born on April 25, 1929, in Logan, Utah to Claude and Elizabeth (Wells) Petereit.

Her family moved to Chicago where she was raised until they came to Hoquiam when she was a teenager. Here she graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1946. She then received her college education and never stopped learning and reading.

In 1947, she married Robert E. McClelland at Forks and they made their home in the Harbor area. The family spent many vacations traveling about the United States to see the beauty of this country. She had attended the Presbyterian Church of Hoquiam.

Betty became involved in civil defense type work when she helped establish a food distribution center in Grays Harbor County, one of the first of its kind in Washington State. She then went to work for Grays Harbor County as a Civil Defense secretary and became its Coordinator in 1962. There she was responsible to both federal and county governments. Some of her federal duties were locating and stocking area fall-out shelters that would be capable of sheltering and feeding thousands of people. Another federal function was to provide emergency communications and aid in case of a natural disaster. These resources included three 500 bed hospitals and a large amount of equipment that was stored in the county.

On the county level she helped coordinate a major portion of the first aid training for labor and industry as well as training teachers and other adults in earning their Red Cross certificates. Support to the Health Department and the Sheriff’s Office included being involved in search and rescue operations.

From 1976 through 1980 she worked with Governor Dixy Lee Ray as the Director of Emergency Services and she was also the Special Assistant for Hazardous Materials and Nuclear Waste. In 1981, she retired from government work and became involved in volunteering wherever she could be of assistance.

Betty is survived by her son, Robert C. McClelland and his wife, Sharon of Sekiu, Wash.; one daughter, Carol A. Clark of Montesano; one brother, Norman J. Petereit of Massachusetts; two sisters, Carol Vavrek and Claudette Naninni both of Oregon; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren and other relatives.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; two daughters, Marilyn G. McClelland, and Donna J. Shedd; and a brother, Edward Petereit.

The family suggests donations to P.A.W.S., P.O. Box 451, Aberdeen, Washington 98520.

A private inurnment service will be held later at the Sunset Memorial Park in Hoquiam.

Cremation arrangements are by the Coleman Mortuary, 422 – 5th Street in Hoquiam, Washington.

Please take a few moments to record your thoughts for the family by signing the online register at www.colemanmortuary.net.