Betty Lu Machado, Delta Junction’s oldest resident, passed away peacefully in her sleep, Tuesday April 2, 2019 at the age of 102, at the homestead she and her late husband Robert built in 1952.
Betty Lu was born January 28, 1917, in Chinook, Mont. She was later raised in Spokane, Wash. Her parents, Wm. And Josaphine Lucas, owned a plumbing and heating business. Their farm property was located on the beautiful Spokane River. Betty loved animals, most especially her horse. Betty attended the Saint Joseph Catholic Academy in Tekoa, Wash. from the age of eight until graduation.
When Betty was not in boarding school, her parents got her a job with a friend who owned the Tru-Blu Biscuit Company, later known as the Sunshine Biscuit Co. Betty became good friends with Helen Stroyan. Helen happened to not only be Betty’s friend, but she also was the Great Aunt of Delta resident, Laurie Franks.
In 1942, Betty met a handsome young soldier named Robert Machado at the Kit Kat Club in Spokane. A friend introduced them, and it was love at first sight. Bob asked Betty’s father for permission to marry her and they were married on January 17, 1943, on a military base outside of Rapid City, South Dakota. Bob’s military career took them to many locations including Germany, Ohio, and California. Robert’s unit transferred them to Fort Greely in 1950.
There wasn’t much in Delta Junction when Bob and Betty arrived in their green Hudson. They stayed briefly at the Buffalo Lodge, then moved over to one of the dry rental cabins on Buffalo Lane. The State of Alaska at the time was offering homestead sites in Delta Junction, and soon they obtained land on the Alaska Highway and began building. They moved into their log cabin in August of 1952. They began like most homesteaders without electricity or water, they burned kerosene lamps and had a wood stove.
Their son Bobby was born in 1953 in Fairbanks at the Ladd Field Military Base. In 1962 Bob was deployed to Germany and the family followed. They loved living there and had many cherished memories. Go-kart races were the rage at the time in Europe and the family took to racing. Betty loved the competition and speed and won many trophies. Many could attest to her love for driving fast as many of you will remember her and her little red Mercedes ripping around the Junction.
She was spitting nails the day she had to relinquish her driver’s license, they said she was incompetent and shouldn’t be driving at the age of 96. So, to give her peace of mind, Dr. Koehler gave her a capacity evaluation test and her Standardized MMSE score was 29/30, missing one point for one mistake in spelling the word “world” incorrectly. Bettys mind remained alert even at 102, but it probably was wise that she wasn’t driving.
Betty loved animals, and most especially enjoyed feeding all the birds and squirrels on the Alaska Highway. Over the years she was involved in many local service organizations in our community.
Betty is survived by her son, Bobby, of Delta Junction, granddaughter Jamie, four great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren all in California, and her beloved little dog, Foxy. She will be missed by her very dear and close family friend, Laurie Franks, and friends, Ernie, Nancy, Ellie, Jeannie, Nadia, Kotcha, as well as the many close friends in the community and her Jehovah Witness family.
As her final request she asked that no service be held and that her ashes be placed with her beloved husband of 51 years and spread over their homestead. Condolences may be sent to Robert Machado at HC 62 Box 5960, Delta Junction, and Alaska.