Former Juneau resident Betty Sharpe Kirsten died Jan. 5, 2006, in the presence of her husband, Gene Kirsten; her niece, Becky Janecke; her daughter, Lynne Kirsten; and her son-in-law, Antonio Villablanca, in Seattle.
She was born to Sara E. and Walter B. Sharpe in Ketchikan on Jan. 19, 1919. After finishing school, she worked for the Alaska Sportsman Magazine and as secretary to the Ketchikan Superintendent of Schools. In 1938, she moved to Juneau to take a job with the U.S. Forest Service, where she worked until 1945. She then accepted the job of secretary to the Alaska Legislative Senate. She was a lifelong Democrat and enjoyed working with the legislature in Juneau. Her fondest memories were of her family and friends in Alaska.
She married Gene Kirsten on Aug. 3, 1944, in Juneau. In 1946, they moved to Seattle, where they raised their two daughters and built a family business, the Kirsten Pipe Company. She retired after 34 years with the company.
Betty was a member of the women's board and the garden club in the Blue Ridge neighborhood. She was also a member of the Pioneers of Alaska Auxiliary in Juneau. She was an avid reader and gardener. She took joy in her family, her work, her home, her friendships and in travels to Europe, Hawaii and Mexico. Friends and family say that she "was loving, loyal, and gentle. We will miss her always."
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Mae; her brother, Walter; and her daughter, Sally.
She is also survived by her nieces, Sally and Julie Baker; and her grandchildren, Stacy Thrasher, Brian Schrader and Sara Burgin.
A memorial tea will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Blue Ridge Clubhouse, 10040 15th Avenue NW in Seattle. Remembrances may be made to the Children's Hospital Foundation in Seattle.