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Bette Lou Elle Karamanos

April 17, 1926 to January 3, 2014 -


Bette Lou Karamanos

After a rich and fulfilling life, Lou died peacefully in her home with her loving daughter Kristina by her side.

Lou was born in Stanley Station, Oregon, the youngest of six children born to Gudrun and Ole Elle from Norway. She lived in the Johnson Creek area of Milwaukie, Ore. through middle school, where she excelled as student body president and girls ping pong champ! She moved with her parents to the Bonneville, Ore. area and attended high school across the Columbia River in Stevenson, Wash. It was wartime and Lou recalled vivid memories of riding the little bus across the Bonneville Dam with guards checking the bus and black shades on the windows after sunset. She graduated as valedictorian.

Lou pursued higher education at Oregon State University and joined Kappa Kappa Gamma. She maintained a 4.0 grade point average and developed lifelong friendships. There she met John Karamanos and traded academia for a life as wife and mother.

Lou’s full time job was supporting her four children in all of their activities and her husband and his work with Sunshine Dairy. She also volunteered for the PTA, AAUW, LWV, Planned Parenthood and led hikes for the Mazamas Trail Club. Throughout her life people placed Lou in leadership roles. She had a passion for hiking, biking, Mother Nature and her family.

Lou was preceded in death by her husband, John Karamanos; son, John ‘Sam’ Karamanos; and her siblings. She is survived by daughters Kristina Hettema of Canby, Ore., Katie Soles, Fraser, Colo., and Karla Esch, Rockwall, Texas; grandchildren Sean Rogers, Portland, Ore., Ian Rogers, Kona, Hawaii, Lisa Esch Chelmo, Anchorage, Alaska, John Karamanos IV, Newport Beach Calif., William Soles, Ft. Collins, Colo., Benjamin Karamanos, Portland, Ore., and Elle Soles, Winter Park, Colo.; daughter-in-law Patricia Hayward Karamanos, sons-in-law Dennis Soles, Dieter Esch and Douglas Rogers; grandchildren’s spouses, Golden and Claire Rogers and Bart Chelmo; and great-grandchildren Willow, Flint, Leo, Zayden and Maddox Rogers.

Friends and family are invited to celebrate the life of Bette Lou Karamanos at 2 p.m. March 23 at Mountain Park Clubhouse, 2 Mt. Jefferson Terrace in Lake Oswego 97035.

Donations in Lou’s memory can be made to Friends of Tryon Creek. tryonfriends.org.