Bessie M Baichtal

August 11, 1924 ~ January 30, 2020 (age 95)


Mom went to be with dad yesterday afternoon. Bessie May Baichtal, 1924-2020. Bess, Bessie, mom, and/or grandmother touched many of our lives over the years. I can’t imagine how many dozens of tollhouse cookies and peanut butter sandwiches she made throughout her life. Bess was born on August 11, 1924 in Yakima Washington to Viola Olive and Wesley Edward Sapp. Bess was the youngest of 9 children. Her father left at age 5 and her mother married Elias Ransom Hatch in 1933. At age 15 she married Junior Fay Baichtal in Walla Walla, Washington on May 2, 1940. Soon mom and dad moved to Seattle. During WWII, mom worked at Boeing Aircraft Co Plant No 1 assembling planes, she was one of the many “Rosie the Riveters”. Dad too worked for Boeing in the design shop and wind tunnel. In 1940, Jean Elenore was born in Walla Walla and in 1945 Juanita Fay (aka Nita) was born in Seattle. After the war mom worked at a burger bar and supported the family model business. The family moved in 1950 to the Longview Washington area, staying first with family on Coal Creek Road then buying the historic Eufaula Schoolhouse. Dad had several careers while Bess worked at Sears Roebuck and raised a family. Cattle, pigs, chickens, and rabbits were added as the property allowed. In 1957 James Fay was born (changing the family dynamics for the better ). 1959 the family moved to Winlock Washington. This created the opportunity for raising chickens (thousands), expanding the cattle, horses, pig, etc. farming. Mom ran much of the farm and egg business while dad worked at Weyerhaeuser in Longview. In the late 1960’s, Bess and JB expanded the family farm buying the Zion Place, adding nearly 140 acres to the farm. I am now omitting thousands of adventures and experiences with the farm, livestock, rock hounding, and life. Bess was the glue that held the family together throughout all of this. Bess and JB retired to Silver Lake Washington enjoying life on the lake. Mom cared for JB for years as his Alzheimer’s progressed. Dad passed on February 8th, 2001. Mom soon moved to her own place with Nita and Vern then finally moving to Olympia with Nita in 2015. Mom was the eternal optimist, no matter how bad things were it always could be worse (we could all learn from this!). Above all she loved her family and often took in strays as us kids brought them home. She was quick to laugh and smile. God I will miss that smile and the twinkle in her eyes. Because of Nita Daarud’s constant care and support we got to keep Bess for many more years than we might have. She got to enjoy her grandchildren, their children and families and great grandchildren. In turn we all got to enjoy Bess. Bess did not want to die in a “old folks” home. She wanted to die at home with family. With Nita’s over the top efforts and the help of in-home hospice, she did. We will miss you Bess. There is a lot of you and who you were in all those you touched. Rest in peace.

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