Jean Elizabeth Jermann was born to Leo and Mae Jermann on May 28th, 1922. Although she was born in Vancouver, Washington, she grew up in the cozy, little, paper-mill town of Camas. Betty Jeanne, as she was called then, never knew her older siblings Lenora and Basil, who both died of polio before she was born. At the tender age of eight, while attending Forbes Elementary, one of her younger twin sisters, Margaret Ann, died of pneumonia, leaving a lasting and loving bond between Betty and her younger sister Mary Claire. Beyond grade school, she found Camas High School very stressful, most probably due to the fact, that her aunt, Nora Self, was the principal, and in her words, “I never wanted to get in trouble because I didn’t want to face my aunt for a wrongdoing!” Her fondest memories were her musical classes - band and orchestra, her involvement in the Pep Club and her part-time job at the Camas newspaper, ‘The Paper Post.’ With a letter of ‘high’ recommendation from her aunt, she was admitted to Marylhurst College for Women in the fall of 1940. Besides leading the band as a majorette, she was elected student body president and soon after became acting president of Oregon Federation of Collegiate Leaders. But her college career was cut short, 21 credits shy of graduation, when she married Henry Paul Dueber in 1944, a young University of Portland student she met on the steps of Flavia Hall at a “Tea Dance”. Now a war bride, her newly wedded husband Paul, an Air Force Lt. promptly left for service overseas. After his safe return from World War II, they lived in two different houses in Portland, had 9 delightful children, moved to their summer home in Cannon Beach and purchased a tiny variety store in the same building as the Post Office. Two years later, the store quadrupled in size and moved to the M &M building on the corner of 2nd and Hemlock. The population of Cannon Beach at that time - 531. Tragedy, again struck, when Henry Paul Sr. died of an embolism on Christmas day 1967, leaving Betty with 9 children and a full-time job at the variety store. Being thrust into the role of sole decision-maker for the young family served as a catalyst for Betty’s emergence as a business leader in Cannon Beach. She began modestly by leasing space in a building owned by Maurie Clark (for whom Clark Commons on the Marylhurst campus was named) and moved her small retail ‘Dueber’s Variety’ to Sandpiper Square. And the rest, as they say, is history, except of course, that this amazing woman was not finished.
With the help of her children, Betty continued to increase her retail expanses after she met and married D. K. Smith in 1972 – not only in Cannon Beach, but in Seaside, 5 shops on the Astoria waterfront and later in Winthrop, Wash. – including a kite shop, ‘The Buttery’ gift shop and a partnership in a restaurant. Betty was also an adamant supporter of securing the future of Cannon Beach. She was a member of the PTA, City Council, Planning Commission and even ran for Mayor (which she lost by a narrow margin). She was the ‘Little Voice’, that helped decide the fate of Maurie Clark’s purchase of the Skating Rink, which after a long and thoughtful deliberation, eventually became the ‘Coaster Theatre’. She was a cast member of numerous Christmas plays, a memorable character of the Bill Steidel Players and she was one of the earliest sponsors of the Cannon Beach Children’s Center. In 1983, Betty and D. K. moved to Winthrop, Washington, but that was before (as D.K. would put it) “the Grandchildren started springing up like weeds!” Needing to be closer to their ‘growing’ family, they promptly moved back to Parkdale, Oregon and called their house, ‘The Poor Farm’, where the door was never locked. Their last move was to Hood River, where they found ‘Home”, and more friends than you could ever count. One of Betty’s proudest accomplishments was coming full circle – when at the age of 70, she returned to Marylhurst College in 1992 as a student after a near 50-year absence. She graduated from Marylhurst with a bachelor’s degree in humanities and was listed in the 1991-1992 edition of “Who’s Who - Students in American Universities and Colleges”. But, most importantly, Betty was ‘Mom’ to nine children who adored her more than words can say. She is survived by her sister Mary Claire Shivers, her four sons, Henry Paul Jr., Peter Scott, Matthew Leo and Andrew Charles, and her five daughters, Elizabeth Ann, Mary Ann, Margaret Ann, Julie Ann and Nancy Ann, and D.K.’s children, Sherry, Mark and Lisa. Betty has 26 wonderful grandchildren and 8 marvelous great-grandchildren.
Contributions in her memory can be made to the Cannon Beach Academy P.O. Box 1171, Cannon Beach, Or. 97110. A ‘Celebration of Life’ will be held at the Oyala home, on Saturday July 13th, from 5 – 7:30 p.m. with possible bond-fire following.