World War II veteran nurse Betty Devlin honored as grand marshal for the 2015 Lumberjack Fiesta parade.
Ninety-six year old Betty Devlin has long been a frequent contributor to events inMcCloud and is known for her pecan and rhubarb pies, Harvey Wallbanger cake and sourdough bread.
An avid knitter and seamstress with a love for dolls, Betty is being honored as the grand marshal for the 2015 Lumberjack Fiesta parade, scheduled for July 25 at 11 a.m. in downtown McCloud.
“I think it is pretty nice to be a grand marshal,” Betty said. “Never in my life would I have ever thought I would be a grand marshal.”
Betty was chosen as grand marshal by the McCloud Community Recreation Council because of her service and commitment to the men and women of the Armed Forces during World War II and her service and commitment to her community.
Patty Ballard-Faulkner of the Recreation Council described Betty as one of the town’s “Pillars of our Community. The McCloud Community Recreation Council is honored that Betty accepted our request. When we asked Betty to be the grand marshal this year, we were at a community supper at the American Legion. She told me that if her health was good she would be happy to. She would let me know... Thank you Betty Devlin for your service.”
Betty and her husband Charlie Devlin moved to McCloud in 1973. A nurse in the Army during World War II, she worked for Dr. Larson in McCloud before retiring in 1981.
She joined the Garden Club, Doll Club, Birthday Club, Catholic Church, and took painting lessons at Marty Markin’s studio. Being an avid reader, she joined the organization the library had at that time.
“We also spent time then visiting our grandchildren in Klamath Falls,” Betty said.
Her daughter, Dee Piazzale, said, “Mom made McCloud her home, and she is very proud to live there. She has contributed to the community and to the people by always being there to help, whether is was babysitting or helping the elderly in her earlier years or cooking a pie or a dish for a community activity. It is nice to see her getting the recognition for her supporting the town through the years.”
Betty still lives in the same house on Minnesota Avenue that she and her husband bought from then retiring high school principal Charles Green.
Celebrated D-Day in France
Born on March 28, 1919, Betty graduated from nursing school Sept. 11, 1941.
“That was before the war, which started on December 7, 1941,” she said. “I was stationed in upstate New York then and joined the 23rd General Hospital Unit from Buffalo, and we all volunteered to go.”
Originally, they were sent to Italy, but first waited six weeks in North Africa.
“In North Africa,” Betty recalls, “we had to take a medication called Atabrine each day to prevent us from getting malaria.”
She served as a nurse in the Army with her sister Dorothea from June 1942 to the end of 1945, spending one year in Italy and one year in France.”
“We celebrated D-Day in France,” Betty said. “They were supposed to have the World’s Fair that year in Italy, but the war broke out and they made that facility into a hospital for injured combat soldiers. That was where I worked.”
After the war, she worked at a VA hospital in southern California, were she met her future husband. They married in 1948 and had two children, daughter Dee and then a son named Michael. Betty said of her son, “Michael died March 1991, a week before my birthday.”
They moved from Santa Monica to McCloud after their kids graduated from college in 1973, “when the McCloud River Lumber Company sold the town,” Betty said. “We used to visit Jack and Nickie Huffman, who have always lived in McCloud. Our husbands hunted, and Charlie liked it up here, so we moved.”
Charlie passed away in 1989. Of her old time friends, Donna Piltz, Velma Maxwell, Marty Markin and Nickie Huffman, only Mrs. Huffman is still alive and still living in the same house as well.
Betty has two parakeet companions as her housemates. She still walks regularly, though with the help of a walker now.
“I enjoy reading still, mostly mysteries, and I still enjoy my own cooking,” she said. “I like to participate in our town’s activities and events. And I visit with my neighbors on the front porch.”
She reflects that throughout her life, “When people find out that I was a nurse in World War II, they say ‘congratulations’ and thank me for volunteering in the service and for taking care of our men in the war.”