Bette Kirgis Richardson

Bette Kirgis Richardson was a thoughtful and loving mother, grandmother and wife.  Throughout her life she exemplified beauty, grace, kindness and courage.  Her passing is devastating to her many extended family members and friends. 

Bette was born in Chicago on 20 March 1936.  Her parents were Chuck and Marie Kirgis of Chicago Heights.  She went to Bloom High School and the Santa Clara Academy at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, and graduated from Marquette University.

She taught high school English and History in Seattle and then took a job with the government in Special Services in Germany where she lived for three years. She travelled extensively throughout Europe, and met her husband there.  They had a wonderful and peripatetic life, living in New Mexico, Alabama, Illinois, and Washington, DC. and travelling extensively.

Her career was as diverse as her residences.  She was a teacher in Seattle, Germany, and Illinois.  She raised her two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama where she chaired the Symphony and Women’s Art Museum Guilds and where she worked for the Army Strategic Missile Command and the Army Hospital Pathology Laboratory.  In Washington she was a staff member in Senator Howell Heflin’s Office, and an executive secretary at the Association for Colleges and Universities.  She also found time to become a docent at the Corcoran and Kreeger Museums and an information specialist at the National Gallery of Art.

Bette is survived by her husband Jim, the families of her two daughters, Lorenne (husband Gary and children, Hallie and Ryan) and Arlis (husband Mike, and children, Grace and Sarah), and her sister, Joan Loop.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Doctors without Borders or Pancreatic Cancer Network (

7 Responses to Bette Kirgis Richardson

  1. Elizabeth Bova says:

    Lorenne – your mother was a remarkable woman who lived her life to the fullest, She truly used her talents in so many ways and, I’m sure, enjoyed every minute along the way. You must have wonderful memories of her as a mother and how accomplished she was, taking pride in her exceptional career. Wow, truly impressive.

  2. Mary Jo Hoeksema says:

    Lorenne and Jim,
    I was so sorry to hear about Bette’s passing. I know how much she meant to your family and how much she will be missed. It is clear there is so much love and devotion in your family. I am sure Bette had a lot to do with fostering and sustaining your deep connection to one another. I hope the memories of the good times and love that you shared will comfort you and keep your family strong. Thinking of you during this difficult time. Love, Mary Jo

  3. Christy Hartsell says:

    Arlis and Lorenne-
    A lovely tribute to your mom. Beauty, grace, and kindness – that’s how I’ll remember her. I’ll be thinking of you as you celebrate her remarkable life. Hugs to you, your dad, and your families.

  4. Linda Rosenfeld says:

    You captured her perfectly. She was intelligent, gracious and beautiful out. Love, Linda

  5. Laura Stone says:

    Mr. Richardson, Arlis and Lorenne,
    Your Wife/Mom was the epitome of charm and grace. I am so grateful to have known her and will miss her and her beautiful smile.
    Xoxo Laura

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