Our mother, Bettie Kennedy Loiacono Groetsema died peacefully on December 1, 2020 in Spokane, WA.
She was born to Eddie and Roma (Herman) Kennedy in Wenatchee, WA on July 10, 1930. The family moved to Walla Walla when she was 6 months old. She attended Green Park Elementary School and graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1948. While in high school she worked at Falkenberg’s jewelry store and in the summer months for Klicker’s berry farm. On weekends she was an usher at the Liberty movie theater and that is where she met Joe Loiacono. They were married September 12, 1948. They had four children: Lane (Don) Buck, Gary (Julie) Loiacono, Alan (Marsha and Krista) Loiacono and Joel (Colette) Loiacono.
In 1961 she was secretary at DeSales High School. She then worked for a time at Paxton-Kent and in 1963 worked for Walla Walla Federal Savings and Loans. In 1969 she accepted a bookkeeper position at Baker-Boyer Bank and in 1982 she was promoted to Assistant Vice President of the Trust Department. As part of her job she administered the Welsh fund that helped numerous young adults in Walla Walla obtain college scholarships. She retired from Baker-Boyer in 1990. Our parents were founding members of Assumption Parish and they were among the founders of DeSales High School’s very successful HOPE and Fall Festival fundraisers. In 1977 they bought season tickets to the Seahawk football games, a tradition that continues to this day. They proudly supported the WSU Cougar football and basketball teams. Dad died in 1985 and in 1989 Mom married Clarence Groetsema. Clarence introduced Mom to the game of golf and they spent many happy hours playing the game with friends. They enjoyed traveling the world and volunteering their time to many organizations among them: YWCA, Walla Walla Catholic Schools, Walla Walla Symphony, Assumption Parish, PEO, Carnegie Center and Fort Walla Walla. She was also awarded the Father Triesch Award from DeSales High School and the Powers Award from the Catholic Foundation of the Spokane Diocese.
Mom enjoyed gardening, spending time on the Oregon Coast, playing bridge and Mah Jong with her friends. Above all Mom put her family first and she cared deeply for us. She was happiest when she could host our family get togethers. She bore her failing health with dignity and grace, never complaining about her circumstances. She always told us: “all you can do is your best”. She was the best Mom and we will miss her so very much.
Mom is survived by her brother Ed (Donna) Kennedy, her sisters in law: Brenda Kennedy, Lynn Kennedy, Donna (Del) Kennedy, and Roseanne Loiacono; her children, grandchildren: Joe Loiacono, Matt Loiacono, Jason Alexander, Erin Rauth, Jeff Loiacono, Ian Buck, TJ Loiacono and 10 great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Eddie and Roma Kennedy, husband Joe Loiacono, husband Clarence Groetsema, son Alan Loiacono, and brothers Del Kennedy, Fred Kennedy and Jim Kennedy.
There will be a private family burial at Elwood Cemetery, Deary, Idaho where she will be laid to rest alongside her Kennedy grandparents and great grandparents. A memorial Mass will be held at a future date in Walla Walla, WA.
We want to express our gratitude to the Baker-Boyer Trust Department, Gerianne Mele-Graham and all of the Baker-Boyer family for their generous support of Mom during her journey with Alzheimer’s disease.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Walla Walla Catholic Schools Endowment or the Alzheimer’s Association.
To send flowers to Bettie's family, please visit our floral store.