Betty Anne Harshman ~ family matriarch, sister, mother, friend, grandmother, great grandmother ~ passed away peacefully at Reflections at Fellowship Square in Mesa, AZ on Tuesday, August 13 at the age of 82.
Betty Anne was born on May 21, 1937 in Tiffin, OH. She moved at a young age from Ohio to Laveen, Az. Her family later moved from their orange orchard in Laveen to live in a bustling new home development on 28th Street and McDowell in Phoenix. She was called “Breezy” by her big brother Rony Harshman. Her love of adventure has its roots in the motorcycle and camping trips her family took during her childhood. She always loved camping and would continue that tradition with her own family for the rest of her life. She did not mind the upgrade to RV camping in her later years.
Betty is remembered for her determined nature, her love for her family, and the thrill of adventures and travel, whether that was a trip to the local Goodwill, visiting with her children and grandchildren, or exploring a new country. She was pretty fed up with her memory loss and she attempted to bust out of Reflections a few times and go find it!
Betty Anne was a cheerleader at North High in Phoenix. After a long break in her education, she graduated from ASU in 1988 with a degree in Communications at the age of 51! Her love of learning continued throughout her life until her memory loss took over.
Betty Anne had a number of jobs throughout her life. She worked as a carhop at the first AZ Bob’s Big Boy on Central Avenue and Thomas in the 1950’s, as a clerk at Tang’s Imports, an executive recruiter, a co-owner in her husband’s concrete business, a massage therapist, an art framer, and her favorite occupation (we swear!), a homemaker. Our mother lived for house cleaning, laundry folding, cooking, and ironing, with some tennis or painting lessons on the side.
You might remember her ready smile, eating her delicious tamales at Christmas, talking with her at any one of our club or sporting events, or just being in our comfortable and lovely home enjoying a snack with one of us kids. She had such an eye for art and design and she followed her passions — sewing, painting, cooking, tennis, learning, quilting, or whatever brought her pleasure.
Betty Anne will be so missed by her family — brother Rony (Norma) Harshman, children Leslie (Johnny) Johnson, Cydney (Jay) Vargo, Arturo (Ashley) Garcia, and Lydia (Danny) Crain. She also leaves behind eleven grandchildren, Janice, Mark, Katherine,Wil, Blake, Danielle, Aura, Bella, Artie, Trevor, Danielle and 8 great-grandchildren, as well as her niece Kathy (Scott) Austin and nephew Johnny (Janet) Harshman.
If you’d like to do something to remember Betty Anne, you could make a donation of goods to Goodwill or your favorite thrift store (oh man, she LOVED thrift stores); make a donation to an Alzheimer’s organization that provides research or support to families; or you could just think happy thoughts.
We will celebrate our mother’s life with an open house at 3105 E Coconino Dr Gilbert, AZ 85298 on Saturday, August 24 from 11am – 3pm.