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Betty A. Friesen

December 29, 1928 - March 10, 2018

Betty Friesen SQ


Dec. 29, 1928 – March 10, 2018

Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Friesen was born in 1928 in Los Angeles, California, to William and Elizabeth.  She was the third of four children with older brothers Harlan and Gordon and younger sister Marian.

Betty was musically talented and learned to play the piano and organ at an early age, frequently playing in the Mennonite church her family faithfully attended.  She graduated from Fremont High School in 1946 and then enrolled at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) where she met Marvin Friesen who sang in a men’s quartet with Betty as the pianist.  Betty also played for the BIOLA Radio Choir, and Marvin was the student director.

Betty and Marvin were married on January 29, 1949, and following his graduation from college and seminary, they spent their lives in service to the church.  Betty was a wonderful hostess and opened their home to guests for countless dinners and overnight stays. She was church organist/pianist for more than 50 years at the various churches where Marvin served as pastor—San Antonio Heights, Upland CA; First Baptist Church, Downey CA; Church of the Foothills, San Jose CA; Emerald Baptist, Eugene OR; and First Baptist Windward, Kailua HI. In retirement they filled interim positions in churches in Santa Rosa, CA; Boise, ID; Gresham, OR; and Portland, OR.

Her church and volunteer activities included:

  • Sacred Heart Hospital Emergency Room, Eugene
  • Habitat for Humanity – sponsored two houses, Family Selection Committee member
  • Redwood Glen Camp, California
  • Teaching the toddler Sunday school class
  • Executive Committee for Church Women United, Eugene
  • Reading tutor in Eugene and in a women’s prison, Hawaii

She enjoyed a variety of crafts, sewing, and reading.  She and Marvin travelled to a wide variety of places including Haiti, Israel, Palestine, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.  They loved the community of friends they’ve developed over the past five years living at The Springs at Carman Oaks and being part of Portland Mennonite Church.

As Betty grew older, she grew increasingly passionate about social justice and the world she would pass on to her grandchildren.  She and Marvin were generous in their support of causes that would make a difference.

She leaves behind her husband of 69 years, Marvin, her three daughters and their husbands, and three grandchildren.

Her memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 21, at 2 pm at Portland Mennonite Church.  Memorial gifts, designated either for PMC’s Building Fund or the Mennonite Central Committee, may be sent to Portland Mennonite Church, 1312 SE 35th Ave., Portland, OR 97214.

Betty Friesen SQ