Reathel Estelle (Berry) Lankford, 92, passed into the presence of her Lord and Savior on August 15, 2019. Reathel was born at Johnston City, Illinois, on April 13, 1927. She was the first of three daughters born to Orion and Reathel Alta (Moore) Berry. A sickly infant, “Little Reathel’s” parents hardly dared to believe that she would be able to grow to adulthood, much less to achieve the age of 92. She graduated from Evansville High School in 1944 and enrolled in Lockyear Business College, where she became an expert at typing, shorthand, and taking dictation; she graduated from the stenographic course in 1946.
She married Herbert Lankford on June 13, 1948, in Evansville, Indiana. Three months after their wedding they moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they both found jobs; he at Mountain Bell Telephone Co., and she at Standard Oil Co. as an executive secretary. The couple had four children, two girls and two boys, and Reathel loved her role as a full-time mom. In 1962, Herb’s 17-year-old niece Valerie came to live with the family, and Reathel found herself being the mom of a troubled teen in addition to mothering her own kids who ranged in age from 6 months to 7 years at that time. In 1966, the family relocated to Golden, Colorado, due to Herb’s job transfer. Reathel especially enjoyed teaching Women’s Bible Studies during these years, and she loved cooking large dinners for family and friends. After retirement, they moved to the Quincy area in 1998, and later to Wenatchee in 2005. Herb and Reathel were married for 61 years until his death in 2009.
Reathel is survived by her sister Wanda Reed and her husband, Arlie; and by three of the four children, Debra Gayle Kooy and her husband, Elliot, of George, Washington; Philip Franklin Lankford and his wife, Julie, of Arvada, Colorado; and Martha Elizabeth Schilling and her husband, John, of Centennial, Colorado. Nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren also survive her.
Her parents, one son, Alan Berry Lankford, and one sister, Nona Orene Berry Vaught, preceded her in death.
Memorial services for Reathel Estelle Lankford will be held at the Quincy Free Methodist Church, 301 I Street SW, Quincy, on Friday, August 23, 2019, at 11 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Central Washington Hospice, 1020 N. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801, in Reathel’s name.