Brett Allen Betts
August 20, 1950 – August 7, 2019
Brett started his life’s adventure on August 20, 1950 as the second son in a family that eventually grew to four brothers - Ray, Brett, Artie, and David, and one sister - Cindy. Brett was devoted to his parents, Irene and Arthur. Mom’s side of the family had a reputation for knowing how to party; that influence showed when his family got together. There was a lot of kidding and fun – it was a big, happy family. Brett’s dad grew up on a big farm in Rochester, worked hard and was a really good dad. Brett often talked about all the things his dad did for him. Brett spoke about many fond memories of spending much of his pre-adolescent years with his older brother Ray, during summers wandering Seattle while visiting his favorite Grandma, or biking all over Rochester doing what kids do. Brett graduated from Olympia High School and attended St. Martins College earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. He retired from work in 2005 as an environmental scientist with Department of Ecology. If a person had to use one word to describe Brett, it would be “Musician”. He loved music, listening to it, watching it being performed, playing his guitars, and singing. He taught himself to read music and play the guitar in his 20’s. Over the years, he played in various bands - Country Western and Grateful Dead/Bluegrass. His last and longest band was Slow Roller which he, Mark Schmitt and Len Jaeger started in 1981; and Mark and Brett kept going for over 35 years. They had a running joke regarding how many bass players they had over the years – at last count it was 13. They had music gigs each year but regardless of that, they got together every week to practice and to just simply have a good time. It was a lot of work, memorizing and practicing lyrics plus playing his guitar. He often listened to and translated songs into music and lyrics for himself as well as his band mates. Many of his lifelong friends were his music compatriots. The only thing that made him stop was his declining health. He liked to joke and make people laugh. He found something interesting and entertaining to say in almost any conversation. He was thoughtful and generous; loved Christmas and birthdays, especially finding the right gift to give. When a baby llama had a broken leg, he immediately offered his credit card for its surgery. On another occasion, he was invited to present information at an all-expenses-paid conference in Spain but declined so that a co-worker from Spain could attend instead and visit family at the same time. Brett was an Eagle Scout and when you got to know him, it showed. His motto was to be prepared and to help others. For example, when Patty would go on one of her horse rides, Brett would always wash and pack the truck and trailer making sure she was prepared for any situation. Brett and Patty married in 1993 and he gained two step sons – Jesse and Brett. He moved onto her farm and proceeded to fix it up. He loved the farm. He called himself the “pasture master” because he diligently watered, fertilized and mowed the pastures every year. He oversaw the construction of their “Southwest style” house. More recently he gained a daughter-in-law - Debra, and grandson - Spencer. He loved the Southwest and loved visiting it and the Anasazi ruins. He brought the Southwest to Washington with his home. Over the years, he did a lot of mountain biking, downhill skiing, and road rallys. He had a full life. Brett passed away on August 7, 2019 and will rest beside his mother at the Grand Mound Cemetery.
- Memorial Service with A Light Reception to Follow Monday, August 19, 2019
Brett Allen Betts
August 21, 2019
Brett was my very best friend for the vast majority of my adult life..
We lived together 2/3 times. He was a very sweet and generous roommate, except with his peanut butter..
In 1977, after I got back from a music trip to Africa, Brett and Lenny encouraged me to start jamming with them. That was the beginning of the 40 year musical journey with Brett, and so many other musical compadres (especially all of those bass players)..
Some of my favorite times with Brett, were when we would get to gigs early (which was almost all the time, since we were both Boy Scouts really liked to be very prepared) We would get a beer, overtip the bartenders, strategize about stage setup, and perpetually be moving our cones around to capture the A-1-A parking spots..
It was often these times together, that we would connect about our ongoing life events.. It was so sweet when Brett found Patty and I found my wife, Kathy.. which really helped Brett and I continue our lifetime musical journey together, loving the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia..
Brett was such a nice, honest and caring person, and I think quite a bit of him rubbed off on me..
Brett was a fantastic musician. I was always so impressed how he figured out so many different intro licks for all of our songs. We played so many gigs together, probably 15-20 a year, for so many years.. It was always a pleasure to be his longtime musical partner..
Brett has finally been released, to sleep with the stars.. I loved him so..
Peter and Sharon Klontz
August 13, 2019
Brett was a warm, genuine man that warmed our hearts, as a family friend for decades. He played with his band at our wedding ( learning Tupelo Honey just for us), as well as many summer parties. He will be always fondly remembered by us... Sincerest condolences to his family, especially Patty.