Betty Jean Allen was born May 7, 1946 to Odell and Euclide Allen in Seattle, Washington. She was the middle daughter of three, eldest Catherine and youngest, Maude Helen. She attended Leschi Elementary School, Washington Jr. High School and graduated from Garfield High School, class of 1964. She went on to attend Seattle University and met her soon to be husband, Ervan R. Tolbert, her junior year. They married in January of 1966 in Houston, Texas and then started their life together in Seattle. From their union came one beloved daughter, Crystal Lorraine. Betty worked for the Boeing Company for three years, to leave and start working for the Seattle Public School District until she retired in 2000.
Betty was a lifelong member of Peoples Institutional Baptist Church. She lived a life of service by singing in various choirs and participating in many church activities. She served as President of the Women’s Ministry, planning years of Annual Church Tea’s and the Annual Women’s Day, worked on the Pastoral Search Committee and was ordained to the Mother’s Board in November of 2017. She also worked within the community, serving on the board of various committees, including the East Cherry YMCA, Women in Unity and the NAACP.
To know Betty was to love her. She lived a life that was full and showered love on all of her friends and family. She never missed a birthday or holiday, because to her all of them were special. One could often find her spending time out shopping, at a good meal or movie, traveling or just spending good quality time with loved ones especially during visits to her “favorite places”. Also, she could often be found watching her beloved Law and Order, The Haves and Have Nots and trading barbs with her son-in-law (Young Country). When her grandchildren came along, they took first place in her life. The sun rose and set on Christian and Micheal Jr. They were the loves of her life, forever “GaGa’s” babies!
Left to honor her memory are her daughter Crystal Tolbert Bell (Micheal Sr.), granddaughter Christian Nicole and grandson Micheal Jr. One nephew, Jon Jahmal (Belinda) and daughters Vanessa, Valencia and Victoria Poston. One niece, Deacon Tonya Smith. She is also survived by her great aunts Mary Skinner (Richard) and Yvonne Coleman and her great uncles Cerra S. Jr. (Dorothy), Charles A. and Gene (Clarice); plus, a multitude of special cousins and extended family; all under the great Slade Family banner.
Included in her extended family are her godchildren Kevin White, Jaeson Albritton, Chellei Jimenez (Alex), Ean McClean, Hal Raines and Deacon Derrick Harris. She gave Crystal several adopted siblings including Deacon Michael and Renee Rudd, Dianne King, Lena Foster, Midori Tanaka, Tanya Brooks and Dorothy Tippler. Impossible to not mention are her adopted sisters/running buddies: Ruby Daniels, Annice Jordan, Patricia Hobson-Russell, Deborah Lane, Diane Landry, Joyce Long, Linda Oliver, Alice Drake, Sharon McMullin, Kathy Hesseltine, Pat and Jim Pattenaude, Barbara Mitchell, Sarah Rolax, Gwen Howard Barbara Larry, and mom and daughter duo: Carolyn Tolbert (sister-in-law) and Kim Carhee.
To all who loved her, know that she loved, enjoyed and appreciated you. Betty will be dearly missed, but her legacy of love lives on. She is now at certain peace with her Savior, rejoicing over seeing her grandparents, parents, sisters, niece Carmen and all of her loved ones, who have gone on before, again.