Florence Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Glenn Rhoten passed away at age 88 at Good Samaritan hospital in Puyallup, WA on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.
Beth was born at Paisley, FL, on April 8th, 1933 to Ernest Jackson Glenn and Verna Marie Freed. She was the youngest of five children; Doris, Charles, Irene, Robert (Bob), and Beth.
Beth was born during the challenging time of the Great Depression. The children learned to work hard and to be resourceful. Beth shared stories of playing with cousins, swimming in ‘water holes’ with water moccasins (snakes), and picking up arrowheads off the ground but dropping them again because they were ‘so common’. Beth’s mother was also very resourceful, sewing her children’s clothes out of flour sacks. As Beth’s siblings grew up and moved out of the home, she and her mother moved to DeLand (FL) when Beth was age 14 ½ to live with her Aunt Helen. When Beth finished 9th grade she and her mom made another short move to Beaufort, South Carolina, and then to Keystone, Oklahoma to live with another Aunt through the summer. Deciding she had better educational opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, Beth made the brave move to Seattle, WA at age 15 to live with her brother-in-law and sister, Marvin and Irene Zabel. Beth traveled by herself on a Trailways bus from Oklahoma to Washington, arriving in Seattle on September 8, 1948 to begin school.
Living with her sister’s family and later working as a nanny, Beth completed high school and graduated in 1951. After high school she got a civil service job at Fort Lawson as a clerk stenographer, earning recognition for her excellent work. Two years later Beth enlisted in the US Air Force in June, 1953. She completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and transferred to Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. It was at Brooks Air Force Base that Beth met a handsome young man named Ronald Rhoten, who had just returned to the states after spending two years in Bermuda during the Korean conflict. After a very short courtship, Ron and Beth were married March 5, 1954.
Ron and Beth wanted a “country” life in the Pacific Northwest and made the move back to the Puget Sound area. Ron attended the University of Washington, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. They started their family in 1960 by adopting their first child, Chelli, followed by Tami and Wes.
In December 1962 the family went to Seattle to share Christmas dinner with the Seattle cousins and were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After taking the missionary discussions, Ron and Beth were baptized in March, 1963.
When her children were older Beth returned to civil service in the US Air Force. She advanced in rank, retiring in 1993 as a Senior Master Sergeant (E8). The kids have memories of times when dad would have them stand at attention and salute mom when she came home from work. Dad always said mom outranked him as he was a Staff Sergeant. Beth received much recognition for her excellent work with the United States Air Force; she received a Meritorious Service medal, the Air Force Commendation medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service medal with 4 devices, the National Defense Service medal with 1 device, the Air Force Longevity Service award ribbon with 3 devices, the Armed Forces Reserve medal, the Air Force Training ribbon, and it was noted Beth served three months in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Working at McChord AFB for 20 years gave Beth the opportunity to make deep, lasting friendships within her circle of military friends. She felt it an honor and privilege to associate with such outstanding people.
Even though the military was a large, wonderful part of her life, her greatest happiness and commitment was found in her family and in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both Ron and Beth held numerous callings in the Church; Beth served as a Relief Society teacher, Primary President, Young Women’s President, YW’s teacher, and the Ward librarian for over 20 years. Just as she did in the military, Beth ran the library like a ‘tight ship’. Mom and dad’s dedication to the gospel has been a tremendous influence in her family’s life. Beth also had a great love for family history. She spent years researching family lines, collecting birth and death certificates, family photos, documents and records. She was meticulous in her research and has dozens of notebooks of family surnames. She loved corresponding with extended family members, gleaning stories and other information that might help her link families together. She and Ron served a mission for the Church at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for 2 years, in 1993-1994.
A highlight every year was the annual April birthday lunch with other dear friends who had a birthday in April. Lorraine Pollard, Margaret Duncan, Juanita Savara-Corbin, Jenny Pincock, Helen Meeker and other friends got together to celebrate the April babies. Beth has many pictures of these lunch events in her photo albums.
Beth suffered a stroke a few years before Ron’s passing in 2012, and the effects of the stroke began to show up in the form of vascular dementia. She fell and broke her arm and hip in 2018, and after being released from Life Care Center came home to live with Butch and Chelli.
Wes and family moved to WA a few months later to help with mom’s care. Maria was a great help with her loving nature and calming influence, as well as grandchildren Ronaldo and Tania; other companion caregivers were also a tremendous help, doing numerous activities with Beth to keep her engaged and active. Laura Holden offered her help and expertise, just as she lovingly cared for her own mother to the end of her life, and great-granddaughter Isabel would often sing to grandma while working puzzles with her.
Beth is survived by her sister Doris Curtis; children Chelli Rhoten Pogue (Butch), Tami Rhoten, and son Wesley Rhoten; She is also survived by daughter-in-law Maria Rhoten, grandchildren Bryce Pogue (Tamsyn), Kristie Pope (Tim), Melinda Lassen (David), Brenda Burns (Blake), Emily Thulin, and Ronaldo, Tania, and Leah Rhoten.
Beth is also survived by 14 great-grandchildren; Bethany, Madelyn, Samuel, and Kimball Lassen; Isabel, Ethan, Liam, and Ava Pope; Lara, Orrin, and Isla Pogue; and Sullivan, Alexander, and Alysse Burns. Many wonderful extended family and dear friends also survive Beth.
A memorial service will be held at the Mountain View Ward building at 7520 25th Ave E, Tacoma, WA 98404 on Tuesday, November 2nd at 11:00am. A viewing will precede the service at 10:00am.
A luncheon immediately following the memorial service will be provided, and Military Honors will be held at 2:00pm at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Covington for all who wish to attend.
The family would like to thank all those who have given so much love, service, and friendship to Beth during the course of her life. We love you mom, and are grateful for all you’ve done to bless our lives, and for the knowledge families can be sealed together forever.
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