John Albert Betz, 74, of Hermiston, died on Sunday, July 13, 2014.
Born June 19, 1940 in Ellensburg, Wash., to Ernest A. & Edna J. Betz, their first born son. John spent his childhood in Sunnyside, Wash. At the start of John’s seventh-grade year, the family moved to Quincy, Wash., where John graduated from high school in 1958. He went on to college at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash., graduating in 1964.
With a ROTC obligation, he enlisted in the Army and made his dream of flying come true by becoming a helicopter pilot. After a tour in Vietnam, he became an instructor pilot and finished out his tour at Fort Worth in 1969. He then returned home to the Northwest and began work in the potato farming business.
In 1978, John moved to Hermiston where he worked with his brother, Richard, in an onion venture. He also had two sons, Jasen and Justin, born in 1979 and 1981. Around that same time, John founded Columbia Sun, a potato processing venture he created with his father, Ernie.
John was a devoted and loving father. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing and building things. Some of his greatest passions were furniture making and woodworking. He was a fine craftsman and an accomplished story teller amongst numerous friends and family. John was a loyal friend to many and always quick to help when anyone was in need.
He also enjoyed serving the youth of the Hermiston community through coaching Babe Ruth baseball and serving as chairman of the Hermiston School Board.
John is survived by his sister, Kathryn Niessner of Royal City, Wash.; brother, Richard Betz of Hermiston; and sons, Jasen Betz of Huson, Mont., and son Justin Betz of Phoenix, Ariz.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Vange John Memorial Hospice, 645 W. Orchard Ave. Hermiston.
Celebration of life will be held at Bennett Botanical Gardens (32632 E Punkin Center Road) in Hermiston on Friday, July 18 at 6:30 pm.
Please sign the condolence book at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com.
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.