OBITUARY

Billie Emerson Griffith Worthen

December 10, 1926November 27, 2018

Billie Emerson Griffith Worthen died November 27, 2018 at Cottage in the Meadow.

Billie Emerson was born December 10, 1926 in Morganton, Arkansas to Elda Alvin Emerson and Georgia Lewis Lynch Emerson. The third of their five children, she was born at home—and early—and so spent the first two weeks of her life sleeping in a shoe box beside the wood stove. The weather was so snowy and cold that it was more than a month before her father was able to make the trip into the VanBuren County Court House to register her birth. By then farm life had intervened and her birth certificate was not issued until 1943. Her family lived on the farm her maternal grandmother homesteaded in Alred, Arkansas. When her older brothers started school, she insisted on going too and began her education in the one-room school house at age 5. The teacher, her Aunt Wilma Walker, put a box under her feet because her legs were too short to reach the floor.

Like many others, the family fell on hard times during the depression and her father modified the family car with a homemade pickup bed and loaded the family of seven, a neighbor man, and all the belongings they could carry, and moved to the Yakima Valley seeking work in the orchards. The family worked hard and saved until they could purchase a farm of their own.

In her family, hard work was an expected part of life—not a burden—and Billie learned to rejoice in work well done, a value she passed on to her children.

Billie attended the Tieton schools and was a member of the first graduating class of the newly-consolidated Highland High School in 1945.

After she graduated she worked at the Yakima County Treasurer’s office until she met Griff Griffith, a former school mate, and married him in June of 1946. They had two children, Lee Ann and Garry. Together they bought an apple farm which they operated until his death in 1967. Three years later she met Charles Worthen and they married on April 21, 1970. She once again assisted with the work on the family apple farm until his death in 2003.

In addition to her farm duties she had a full time job for much of her adult life, working as a meat wrapper at Radford’s Market in Tieton, as office manager for Holtzinger’s Fruit Company, billing clerk for both People’s Department store and Montgomery Ward, and office manager for both Cowiche Telephone Company and E/step Software Inc. until she retired at age 80.

Billie always had a vegetable garden; canning, freezing and drying the produce of her garden as well as fruit and jams from the farm. Her delight was her flower garden and she was never happier than when she had her hands in the dirt in the garden.

Billie could rarely be found sitting but if she were, she was always putting a hem in a garment she was making, knitting a sweater, embroidering a table cloth, or piecing one of the dozens of quilts she created during her life.

An active member of her community, Billie was a charter member of the First Presbyterian Church of Tieton, a life member of the Washington State Grange, and past president of the Naches Heights Women’s Club.

Billie was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Voyt Emerson and Elmo Emerson, her husband Griff Griffith, and her husband Charles Worthen.

She is survived by her sisters Guenevere Lee of Placentia, CA and Eldene Kipp (William) of Redding, CA; her children Lee Ann Estep (John) of Yakima, Garry Griffith (Deanne) of Salem Oregon; four grandchildren, Melanie Saint James (Roy Janysek) of Richland, WA, Michael Herrett (Jennifer) of Sherwood, OR, Crystal Merrifield (Charlie) of Salem, OR, and Alton Griffith of Salem, OR; six great grandchildren Ayla, Kiki, and Raya Merrifield, and Malik and Adelyne Griffith, and Abigail Herrett. In addition she is survived by her beloved friend, companion and dance partner of thirteen years, Ray Colella of Prosser, Washington.

A family burial service will be held at Terrace Heights Memorial Park and a Memorial service open to all of her many friends, neighbors and family members will be held at Rainier Memorial Center, 2807 Terrace Heights Drive, at noon, on Saturday, December 8, 2018. Memorial donations may be made to Cottage in the Meadow.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.keithandkeith.com

  • FAMILY

  • Billie was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Voyt Emerson and Elmo Emerson, her husband Griff Griffith, and her husband Charles Worthen.

    She is survived by her sisters Guenevere Lee of Placentia, CA and Eldene Kipp (William) of Redding, CA; her children Lee Ann Estep (John) of Yakima, Garry Griffith (Deanne) of Salem Oregon; four grandchildren, Melanie Saint James (Roy Janysek) of Richland, WA, Michael Herrett (Jennifer) of Sherwood, OR, Crystal Merrifield (Charlie) of Salem, OR, and Alton Griffith of Salem, OR; six great grandchildren Ayla, Kiki, and Raya Merrifield, and Malik and Adelyne Griffith, and Abigail Herrett. In addition she is survived by her beloved friend, companion and dance partner of thirteen years, Ray Colella of Prosser, Washington.
  • DONATIONS

  • Memorial donations may be made to Cottage in the Meadow.

Services

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Celebration of Life Saturday, December 8, 2018

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Graveside Service
REMEMBERING

Billie Emerson Griffith Worthen

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