Betty McFarland Martin was born on Dec. 2, 1923, in Columbus, Mont., and went to be with Jesus on Jan. 20, 2017. Her parents were Robert McFarland and Fern Motter McFarland Stow.
The family moved to Billings seven years later. She graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1941, and attended Billings Business College. During WWII, she worked at Ft. Lawton, Wash., and Boeing Aircraft in Renton, Wash., as “Rosie the Riveter.”
On March 17, 1944, she met the love of her life, Delmar Martin, in Miami. They were married on June 28, 1944, in his parents’ church in Franklin, Tenn. The couple was married for 56-1/2 years. Del had been a Pearl Harbor survivor, and was aboard the USS Nevada.
After the war, they moved to Franklin, where Del built a house and farmed.
Coming back to Billings in February 1949, they made their home there until September 1950, when Del was recalled in the Korean War, serving aboard the USS Sarsi while Betty lived in Culver City, Calif. They moved back to Billings in June 1952, where they stayed.
Betty belonged to Junior Women’s Club, First Christian Church and the YMCA, serving on the Y Board, and earning a lifetime achievement award for her volunteer work. After Del’s retirement from the Navy in 1976, they attended Navy ship reunions all over the country, and they enjoyed camping at Yellowtail and Red Lodge.
Mom loved reading books, gardening and flowers, and could identify any flower ever grown. She loved meeting new people and cherished every friendship she ever made. If you were a stranger any place she was at, you would meet Betty within minutes and become a friend for life.
She is survived by her daughter, Carolee Cooke; four granddaughters, Shauna Martin and Andrea Martin of Washington, Elizabeth Cooke and Julianna Cooke of Billings; and two great-grandsons, Aiden and Joey. She was preceded in death by her husband Del in 2000 and her son David, also a Navy retiree, in 2013.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at First Christian Church, with a reception to follow.
Donations may be made in Mom’s honor to the church or Billings YMCA.