Obituary – Bette Hagenstein
March 24, 2016
Bette Hagenstein, 87, of Pinedale passed away at her home on Thursday, March 17th. Bette was born May 4th 1928 in Los Angeles, California to Ben and Madeline Power. She came into the Green River Valley as a child to spend summers with her Uncle Norris and Aunt Lottie Griggs who lived on Packer Creek after they homesteaded the Fear ranch south of Big Piney. Bette spent one school year in Pinedale and after one year of college returned to the telephone company as the exchange switchboard operator and many remember her as "Mert".
Paul courted Bette from the back of his mare Flicka, who would walk to town in about 25 minutes from the Hagenstein ranch south of Pinedale. They were married in August 1948. Bette together with Paul’s mother Marjorie operated the family dairy, Mt Airy Dairy; Bette was their signature hand-paddled butter maker. Two daughters, Valerie Lee and Leslie Hagenstein, graced their lives.
In 1967, Paul and Bette transitioned the ranch into a registered and recorded Red Angus operation. Bette was Paul’s dedicated partner cooking what ranch hands described as the "best part of working for Paul,"raising her two daughters, baling hay, taking her turn in the calving barn, ski patrolling, making clothes, wool rugs and needlepoint pillows, while painting or repairing anything broken. Bette was frequently found supporting civic and community activities and was active in the Community Congregational Church, Order of the Eastern Star¸ Museum of the Mountain Man / Rendezvous and was honored in 1993 by the Green River CowBelles as Ranchwoman of the Year.
Bette grew up in a musical family and for many years she joined Donna Sievers and Miriam Kerbackas "The Mad Hatters", a trio that entertained from the Governor’s Mansion to church, community or local fundraisers. She was active in community theatre productions and the Pinedale’s Dance Club for 13 years ~ no one loved a party, dancing and singing better than Bette.
Bette is survived by her husband Paul Hagenstein, daughter Valerie Lee (Ed Vodak) and grandson Sam Drueding, daughter Leslie Hagenstein, brother Don Power (Roscoe James), sister-in-law Susan Cantey, nieces Shelly Power, Lori Power, Janet Woods (Carlton), DebraHecox, nephew Gary Hecox (Gail) and their families.
Supporting her desire for joyful activities, a "Legacy Party" honoring Bette will be held on August 28th at the Hagenstein ranch where friends and family from afar will be able to join in remembering this strong-willed, joyous and mischievous soul. Bette requested that memorials be sent to the Pinedale Fine Arts Council to keep the arts alive and thriving in Sublette County (PFAC, Post Office Box 5861, Pinedale, WY 82941) or the Order of the Eastern Star, Pinedale Chapter #39.