January 7, 1917 - July 26, 2019
Beth M. Applegate, aged 102-1/2, died peacefully, in her sleep, on July 26, 2019, in Roseburg, OR. A remarkable lady, she has left a hole in this place, but has created a new, bright light in heaven.
Beth was born in Roosevelt, MN, on January 7, 1917. She was the first daughter and the second eldest of seven children born to Ernest and Bernice Harwood. The family moved to Langdon, ND, and eventually to a wheat farm near Galata, MT.
She cooked on a ranch to earn money for college and went to the University of Montana for the first semester. She didn’t have enough money to return after Christmas, but sold an article to the Farmers Wife magazine for what seemed a princely sum and was able to go back to finish the year. She transferred to the Normal College in Dillon, MT, where she received her teachers’ certificate. She completed her degree (BA) in 1956 at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.
Her first teaching job was in a one-room schoolhouse, teaching kids grade 1-8. Later she moved to Deer Lodge, MT to teach elementary grades in a real school. It was there she met and then married Bill (William) Applegate in 1942. She continued to teach at their various locations until 1960.
Bill had been drafted into the Army and they were transferred to Camp Florence, AZ, an Italian/German prisoner of war installation. She worked on base as a secretary until the birth of their daughter, Nancy, in 1945. After the war the family returned to civilian life in Deer Lodge, MT. After a few years, Bill rejoined the Army, and their first assignment was to Kobe, Japan. The Army life took them to Ft. Hood (Killeen), TX; Camp and then Fort Carson (Colorado Springs), CO; Coligny Caserne, Orleans, France; Presidio (San Francisco), CA; and Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio), TX. Bill was also sent to Vietnam but, of course, Beth didn’t accompany him there.
Upon Bills retirement, the couple traveled around the country for several months in a pickup truck with a camper on it. Eventually they arrived in Sutherlin where they bought Bills Trailer Park which they improved greatly and operated for seven years.
Beth loved to write and started writing short stories and poetry when she was about eight years old. At one time, while her husband was in Vietnam, she supported herself and their daughter on income solely from her writing. Ever conscious of saving money (as are most children of the Depression Era), all of her husband’s pay went into a savings account. She sold thousands of poems and short stories, many of them geared toward children. Her book The Cedar Knot Doll, was published in 2001.
Beth was a genuinely caring, compassionate, and generous woman. She anonymously helped many people who were enduring hardships not of their own making. She was instrumental in the creation of the Sutherlin/Oakland Emergency Food Pantry.
She was an avid gardener and had a real green thumb. She loved music and had a lovely voice. She usually sang in church choirs wherever she lived and played piano and organ as well.
Until only a few years ago, Beth was active in her church and the Order of the Eastern Star, as well as working at the food pantry.
Beth is survived by her youngest sister, Bernice Penny Chapman, of Bellflower, CA; sisters-in-law Arlen Harwood, Mercer Island, WA and Jo Harwood, Renton, WA; her daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Jim Bryant, who are full-time RVers, and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her husband of 47 years, William R. Applegate, her mother and father, four brothers: Robert (Bob), Richard (Dick), David, and Benjamin and a sister, Ariel Croxton.
A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 181 E. Second Ave., Sutherlin, OR, on Monday, August 12 at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to that church or to the Sutherlin Emergency Food Pantry.