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Betty's Story

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Betty (Clixby) Gordon, a former Lake Ann resident and two-term president of the Cherryland Electric Cooperative, died May 6, 2018 at Freedom Village in Holland, Michigan. She was 95.
Born June 30, 1922 to Mark and Agatha (Wagenaar) Clixby in Detroit, she was a proud graduate of Cass Tech High School. After graduation she worked as a fashion illustrator with Crowley-Milner in Detroit and Red Cross aide during World War II.
In 1941 she married Harry "Bud" Gordon, a Ford Motor Company engineer and turned her focus to raising four children and hosting three foreign exchange students. She also taught Sunday School, volunteered for the PTA, served as a Cub Scout den mother and Girl Scout leader and was active in the local American Field Service chapter.
After her children were grown she enrolled at Wayne State University and graduated with honors at age 50 with a degree in art education. She then taught art for five years at West Bloomfield High School.
She and her husband retired to Lake Ann in 1977. Retirement brought with it world travel, volunteer work and community service. In 1983 she was the first woman elected to the board of Cherryland Electric Cooperative. She later served two terms as president.
Drawing on her artistic skills, she designed costumes and sets for the Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City. She was also active in her local P.E.O. and Ikebana chapters and served as an elder and Stephen's minister at the Presbyterian Church in Traverse City.
In 2000 she moved to Freedom Village in Holland, where she was active member of Hope Church, P.E.O., HASP and the Freedom Village Fine Arts Committee.
Betty was an inspiration to all who knew her. Her wit, determination and compassion were inherent in her nature. As an artist and human being, she gave the world color and left an indelible portrait of love.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Harry "Bud" Gordon; siblings, Max and Jean Clixby, and George and Margaret Clixby; son, Mark H. Gordon; and exchange student children, John Terry and Gia Yanissi.
She is survived by her brother, Dale and Doris Clixby, of Juno Beach, Florida; children, Marilee and Milton Nieuwsma, of Holland, James and Laura Gordon, of Ludington, and Scott and Karen Gordon, of Anacortes, Washington; exchange student children, Wolfgang and Brigitte Adelssen, of Hassberg, Germany, Cheryl Terry, of Sydney, Australia, and Leonidis Yanissis, of Athens, Greece. Survivors also include 13 beloved grandchildren, her "treasures" (members of the Lake Ann Cousins Club), Jonathan (Chris) Nieuwsma, Greg (Ewa) Nieuwsma, Elizabeth (Sam) Nieuwsma-Dell, Tom (Melissa) Gordon, Meredith (Chad) Nieuwsma, Kim (Todd) Sterzik, Heather (Joe) Thurston, Kerry Gordon, Jessica Gordon, Lois Gordon, Jennifer Gordon, Nick Gordon and Katie Gordon; 11 adored great-grandchildren; and many cherished nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Hope Church, 77 W. 11th St., Holland, with the Rev. Jill Russel and the Rev. Gordon Weirsma presiding. A reception will follow. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the ceremony at Hope Church.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology, PO Box 929 Bellaire, MI 49615; or Hospice of Holland, 270 Hoover Blvd., Holland, MI 49423.
To sign an online register book visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com.
Professional services were entrusted to the Dykstra Funeral Home - Northwood Chapel.
Published on May 16, 2018
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