Bette Stillwell remembered for life of service to others

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by Bette Stillwell – 

Bette Stillwell was promoted to Glory Sept. 14 from her home in Kailua, Hawaii. Known and loved by many in the Western Territory, Bette lived a life of service to others.

Born in Seattle, Wash. on Jan. 29, 1927, Elizabeth Mae Vincent grew up in the West as the daughter of Salvation Army officers.

When she was 18, Bette met Bob Stillwell at an Army camp in Southern California, and the couple wed in 1949. They entered the School for Officer Training (SFOT) with the Courageous Session (1957-8), and held appointments in San Bernardino, Long Beach, SFOT, and the Children’s Facility in Honolulu.

After their time as officers, Bette joined the Federal Action Agency, becoming director for RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) and the Foster Grandparents Program in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, Calif.

In 1978, she became manager of the historic Wai’oli Tea Room for the Army. The tearoom was built in 1922 as a vocational training facility for residents of The Salvation Army’s Girls’ Home.
In 1991, the tearoom was selected to Hawaii’s Registry of Historic Places. Stillwell wrote a book, Come Back to the Wai’oli, chronicling its history.

Besides her work with the Army, Stillwell served with Goodwill Industries and Soroptimist International. She was the president of the Honolulu Chapter of Women in Communication and a member of the Metropolitan Rotary Club.

Bette received the Women in Communication Headliner Award in 1992 and was honored by the Soroptimist Club of Windward O’ahu, who named a perpetual award given to a community volunteer each year, “The Bette Stillwell Distinguished Service Award.”

Surviving Bette are her husband, Robert (Bob) J. Stillwell; four sons, Robert Jr., David, Daniel and Douglas; five grandchildren; and two sisters, Marylou Trangmoe and Ruth Ann Bradford.

Celebration of life services were held at the Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery in Kaneohe and in California at The Salvation Army Pasadena Tabernacle Corps. Commissioners Joe and Doris Noland participated in both services with Commissioner Joe Noland offering words of hope.

Donations for the Territorial Stillwell Music Award may be sent to The Salvation Army, 2950 Mãnoa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822, and for The Bette Stillwell Distinguished Service Award Endowment to the Soroptimist of Windward O’ahu, c/o Sharon Schamber, 40 Kaiholu Pl., Kailua, HI 96734.
Messages may be sent to Bob Stillwell, 77 Kaiholu Place, Kailua, HI 96734.

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