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Anita Mae Belcher
03/14/1937 — 10/03/2023
From Richland, WA | Born in Walla Walla, WAWatch Service
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Celebration of Life
Anita Mae Belcher
Anita Mae (Pinkerton) (Lemke) Belcher, 86, passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 3, 2023, in Richland WA at the Badger Mountain Adult Family Home. Our family wishes to express our heartfelt gratitude to the staff as they became extended family helping care for Anita.
She was born March 14, 1937, in Walla Walla, WA where she grew up, graduating from WA-HI High School in 1955. She then attended Washington State University for 2 years, where she joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority where she met several lifelong friends.
She married Kenneth C. Lemke in 1958. From this union her three children were born, Doug, Terri, and David. They lived in Spokane, WA until 1973. Ken’s career change took the family to Salt Lake City, UT for 2 years followed by a move to Richland, WA in 1975 where she resided the rest of her life. While she worked occasionally outside the home when her children were in grade school, being a full-time mother was her greatest joy. During the years they were in the restaurant business, (Sambo’s) Anita worked weekends alongside the entire family. In 1983 after she and Ken divorced, she went to work for Rockwell and Westinghouse for a span of 8 years. She married John T. Belcher in 1988 until his passing in 2012.
After retiring she found her niche by volunteering for the Kadlec Hospital Auxiliary for close to 20 years. She also loved crossword puzzles, cross stitch, needlepoint and was an avid reader. Anita loved her home and having her family present for holidays. She was well known for her pies, teaching us that it was all about the perfect crust.
Growing up, Anita loved visiting her maternal grandparents on their ranch outside of Athena, OR. She reminisced often about her summers helping her grandpa and driving the pea truck during harvest. It was on the ranch she developed her strong love and support for animals. Anita and John had adopted not one, but two greyhound dogs and also talked her sister into adopting one too. She was also always adding kitties to her home and feeding strays in the garage.
Anita loved music, especially jazz. She grew up playing the piano – a skill she passed down to her daughter and granddaughters. Her grandmother’s piano will remain in the family.
She is survived by her son Douglas “Doug” C. Lemke, daughter Teresa “Terri” A. Butz, stepdaughter Melissa Eller, niece Laura Ladd, nephew Michael Ladd, five grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and 3 step-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sister Marda Ladd, husband John T. Belcher, son David K. Lemke, and stepson John A. Belcher.
You are home now, mom, with your loved ones and all your fur babies.
Until we see you again… Your family will love you forever.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to one of her favorite animal charities. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, at www.ASPCA.org; Pet Over Population Prevention at www.popptricities.org; or the Benton Franklin Humane Society at www.bfhs.com.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, October 15, 2023 at Einan’s Funeral home at 11:30 am followed by a lunch reception.
Anita was the older of my two cousins. We all got to be together in the summer at our Douglas grandparents ranch in Oregon. She and Marda were idolized by me. They were so kind and tolerant of their little cousins. There was a lot of teasing and laughing. Anita and I kept in touch over the years. Every time Andy and I traveled up her way we stopped to visit. Since her fall we kept in phone contact. I will always love her dearly and will miss her.
Anita and I were classmates from grade school on. Very close friends in high school and kept in touch through the years later. I saw her when I would visit my folks in Walla Walla . Christmas cards kept us in contact over the years. I didn’t hear from her the last couple of years and wondered about her. My husband passed away 12 years ago. I am thankful she is at peace with all her loved ones.
May God bless your family during this difficult time. Terri, you took excellent care of your Mom during her health journey. I also know you were a treasure to her adult living facility. The times I was around your Mom I noticed how proud she was of you and how much she loved you. Grief is an individual journey. It helps to remember the special family times and talk about it with your family and friends when or if you feel like it.
I’m sure going to miss you Aunt Nita, give John and Davey my love when you get to heaven. I love you 💕❤️😘
Grandma, you are missed!
I loved getting to visit you and grandpa in the Tri-Cities. I always enjoyed visiting your home, you had the best books and movies for us and always greeted us with loving hugs and welcome. It truly felt like a home away from home.
I really enjoyed taking care of Anita, she was my favorite lady. Anita and her fa.ily always made me feel very welcome in Anita’s home. Anita was one special lady.
I’ll miss you Anita.
We have so many wonderful memories of visiting Anita and Dad’s beautiful home throughout the years. She was a great hostess. She will be missed.
Anita, you always were my favorite cousin. We both have wonderful memories visiting Grandma and Grandpa at their ranch. I too learned to love all animals with their help. I still have dogs,cats, goats and horses.
Although we lived a long way from eachother I did think of you often. You are with your loved ones again!
Terri and family,
A beautiful tribute to Anita. She had a fulfilled
life and will be missed.
Heartfelt condolences and prayers to ya’ll during this difficult time.
Hoping some comfort afforded knowing she is at home now.
Natalie and Steve Wilkinson
Though you were ready to go, I wasn’t ready for you to leave.
I love you Aunt Nita!