Elizabeth May Cawthorn
February 23, 1930 – January 28, 2020
Elizabeth May Cawthorn was born Elizabeth May Clark to A. John and Arbie Clark on February 23, 1930. At that time her father worked in the coal mines of Arkansas. The mine he was working in caved in one day and a large rock fell near him so he curled himself around the base of the rock and was saved. He was one of only a handful of survivors. When he crawled out of the mine the people gathered around all cheered. Arbie was there holding Elizabeth. John decided right then that he was never going back into the mines. He took his wife and daughter and moved to Gotebo, Oklahoma and opened a machine shop where he worked until the depression. He lost the business as no one could afford to pay him. In 1932 Arbie had another daughter, Ennies Dean. As soon as the baby was able to travel they moved to Big Springs Nebraska to help in the harvest of wheat and oats. John worked fixing farm equipment during this time. When the summer was over they moved again to Blalock, Oregon, in the Columbia River gorge where john worked on a gold barge fixing their machinery. During this time when Elizabeth was 4 and Ennis was 2, the little girls wondered down to where the Native Americans were living below them. When Arbie found out, they were both in big trouble.
Elizabeth’s brother, Elven John was born in 1934 in Blalock, Oregon. The gold barge business didn’t “Pan” out so the family moved again to Hood River, Oregon to work the fruit harvest. John worked for a family named Wells and he fixed their machinery. Arbie did what she could with 3 young children. They lived in a two room shed that was near the railroad tracks. The railroad brought in water and Elizabeth and Ennis would wave down the conductors to let them know water was needed. The conductors would wave and toot their horns at them. For those two little girls, that was a BIG DEAL.
Around 1935 the family moved again to Gresham, Oregon where John started working for Hessel Implement Company. They were the last family to live in the large white house where the Post Office is now located in downtown Gresham.
Around 1938 John and Arbie bought their last home together on Cleveland Avenue. The property was 9 acres. John worked fixing the neighbors farm machinery and built his first rototiller on the back of his John Deere Tractor. Men came from all around to see the tiller including Hessels. He didn’t get a patent on it but someone else did and many rototillers have been built since.
As Elizabeth grew, she helped on the farm and went to school. She loved picking berries and was very good at it. She attended Gresham Union High school and graduated in 1948. During school she was active on the tumbling team/gymnastics and sang in the school choir. She also sang in her church choir, sometimes singing duets with her sister, Ennis.
During high school Liz received good grades and was on the honor roll. She also received a scholarship to attend a nearby community college, but wasn’t able to go as she was needed on the farm. She did, however, go to business school for two years.
During high school and after, she worked as a checkout girl at Zimmermans store which today is known as 12 mile corner. There she met her first husband Dale Barbee around 1950. After they married, Liz really wanted children. Unfortunately she had three miscarriages and was unable to try again. On January 3, 1962 Dale and Elizabeth adopted a daughter and named her Debra Sue. Three years later Dale was killed and Liz and Debbie were on their own. Elizabeth took a job with Lambert Electrical Company to support Debbie and herself.
On May 7, 1971, Elizabeth was married to Jack Cawthorn. With this marriage Elizabeth gained two more children, Jason Duane and Mark Everett who she loved with all her heart.
In the 1970’s Jack and Liz bought a camping trailer and started camping with their family. We had many wonderful camping trips in that Aljo trailer. We went to the beach and the mountains and everywhere in between.
Elizabeth loved being involved in her children’s lives. She often volunteered to chaperone for school functions and outings. The other kids got to know her and many started calling her mom. She was also a part of the parent club during our high school years. Elizabeth loved to collect antiques and other items. She had collections of paper weights, clowns, Thimbles, and carnival glass. She also loved to sew and Toll paint. Jack converted part of the basement over to a painting studio for her to work in where she created many beautiful items for family and friends. After Jack retired they both took up stained classwork. They loved making Christmas gifts for family and friends. Dad would do all the cutting and soldering while mother worked on the designs of what they were making.
Eventually her children grew up and started their own families. One by one the grandchildren came along and Elizabeth loved them all. Now she even has a great-grandson, Micah Ray Hooker who was just born January 15th, 2020. Unfortunately, she did not get to meet him before she passed.
As her daughter, this is what I remember about my mom. She was always there when you needed her and always put your needs before her own. She had many medical problems that left her in a lot of pain, but she would disregard the pain to help those she loved. She was kind, caring, giving and an all around lovely woman. Wherever we went, she always seemed to know someone. I remember being at a parade with her up in Washington one year and the mayor of the town was going by on a float. She remembered that when he was young she had changed his diapers. Whenever mom and dad went out to dinner or to a restaurant all the servers and people behind the counter knew who they were and would bring them their drinks without being asked what they wanted. It was the same way at Miramont Pointe, their home for the last three years. Mom was also very outgoing and could make new friends easily. I will miss my mom greatly, but I am comforted by the fact that she is home with Jesus and all her friends and family that went before her. She is also out of pain and in her new body. I know I will see her again one day, when it is my time to go home.
Elizabeth is survived by her husband of 48 years, Jack Cawthorn; Her three children, Jason Cawthorn, Debbie Betts and Mark Cawthorn; Jason and Debbie’s spouses, Tina Cawthorn and Jeff Betts; Grandchildren Danica Cawthorn, Tristan Betts, Amanda Cawthorn, Cody Cawthorn, Tasha Betts, and Hannah Hooker; Amanda’s husband Micah and Hannah’s husband Joshua Hooker; Great-grandson Micah Ray Hooker.
- Funeral Service Saturday, February 8, 2020
- Committal Service Saturday, February 8, 2020
Elizabeth May Cawthorn
February 15, 2020
I will always remember Moms famous Cawthorn’s concoction! Never knew exactly what was in it but was always a treat to have! Until maybe after the 4th leftovers! Oh did I forget to mention she use to make it in mass quantities so we had it for a week! 😜 love and miss you Mom! Omsmamurd(my always nick name for my mom)