Elizabeth Mae Nelson

May 1, 1917January 27, 2013

Elizabeth M. Nelson (Betty) passed away January 27, 2013 at the Corwin Center of Emerald Heights, Redmond, Washington. She was 95.

Betty was born May 1, 1917 in Dillon, Montana to Mary Rebecca and D. L. Stephens. The family moved to Seattle, where she attended Montlake grade school and graduated from Garfield High and the University of Washington. Betty was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority.

Betty’s parents were divorced when she was young and her mother later married Leslie Moughtin. Betty assumed his name and was known as Betty Moughtin during her school years. When Betty was 14 a sister was born, her beloved Jean Moughtin. Jean was a devoted, caring friend to her older sister and accompanied her on many journeys to visit family over the years. They had many fun times and as Betty’s health declined, Jean was always there to cheer her on.

Betty married Charles L. Spence in 1939 and they had four children; Judith Thordarson (Norm), Robert Spence (Kathy), Thomas Spence (Katy), and William Spence who died in infancy.

The center of her universe was her family and she was a wonderful mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Our home was always open to our friends. Some of her fondest memories were of our beach cabin at Lake Goodwin. Betty was involved in Cub Scouts, Brownies, PTA and other activities related to her children. She also volunteered for the Seattle Milk Fund and at the University of Washington Hospital. She was an active member of the Japan America Society and the Women’s University Club.

Betty and Chuck separated in 1977 and she later married Dr. James Nelson. Betty and Jim moved to the Emerald Heights Retirement Community in 1993, where they made many new friends. She was predeceased by Jim in 2003 and by her brother Robert Stephens.

Betty is survived by her 3 children and her 8 grandchildren whom she treasured: Eric Thordarson (Kris), Kristian Thordarson, Carolyn Saylor (Jim), Carl Spence (Nate), Rebecca Spence (Richard), Jenny Schmitz (J. P.), Julie Spence and Courtney Heys (Dave). Betty was the proud great grandmother of Caitlin, Tawni, Cory, Isaac, Ethan, Anna, Kari, Will, Sydney, Robbie, Alexis and Avery. Betty is also survived by her brother Bill Stephens (Pat) of Virginia and Jim’s children Don Nelson (Cyndie) and Kristin Patterson (Ron) and their children, Olaf, Erika, Karen, Andrew and Daniel.

Our family is very gratified for the care Betty received at the Corwin Center and is especially thankful for the care she received from Sandy Burke and other wonderful caregivers over the past few years. There will be a private family memorial. Memorial contributions may be made to Children’s Orthopedic Hospital or the charity of your choice.


Elizabeth Mae Nelson

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February 4, 2013

I have very fond memories of Betty. Years ago, when my mother suffered a brain aneurysm and our family spent hours in the hospital waiting room while she was in surgery and later intensive care, Betty appeared with a large platter of sandwich fixings. We had not even realized we were hungry, but Betty knew we would be. A few days later, she came to my house to stay with my 3 year old and 2 month old, so I could spend time with my mother in her hospital room. I knew Betty as a very lovely and generous person.
Gloria Nordquist Folsom

Don and Cyndie Nelson

February 2, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with Betty's family. We appreciate the many years she spent as the loving wife of Jim and grandmother to our children.

Erika Nelson Fish

January 30, 2013

I have fond memories of time spent with Betty and my Grandpa Jim in Seattle and Redmond. I'm glad they lived in such a caring community, surrounded by family and friends. A life well-lived and full of love.