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Elizabeth Janet Pipes (Bette), 75, of Mesa, AZ, returned home to her Lord and Savior on May 23, 2018.
Bette was born in Flushing, NY on March 1, 1943.
She graduated from The Mary Louis Academy, a private Catholic school for Young Women, in 1961.
Bette was born into an athletic family and started diving at an early age. Coached by her mother, Hazel, she became a nationally recognized springboard and platform diver by the age of 16. As a three time All- American diver and New York State Champion, she trained and tried out for the 1960 Olympics. After high school she headed to Arizona to fulfill her Olympic dream by training for the 1968 games at the Dick Smith Swim Gym where she earned an alternate position on the Olympic team.
After graduating from ASU, Bette ‘dove in head first’ into her career teaching physical education, teen counseling, and as a diving coach for Mesa Public Schools. During her 31 year career she was a mentor, innovator and life changing teacher to all those who had the privilege of being her student.
Even as a busy wife, mother, teacher and coach, she was able to pursue her love of the water by creating her own infant swim program, which she taught for over 50 years. To the delight of generations of Mesa families, Bette continued to teach swimming lessons until her 70th birthday. Her passion for water safety prompted her to travel near and far sharing her teaching methods and learning from others at international swim conferences.
Bette did not let retirement slow her down. She became a worldwide traveler and dedicated volunteer. She also achieved her Olympic goal by winning the Arizona Senior Olympics in aerobics. Her months of training guaranteed the winning move; a one handed pushup. Her love of fitness and helping others led her into volunteering throughout Mesa. She taught chair aerobics at a nursing home and helped at-risk children through the Gabriel’s Angels reading program with her beloved therapy dog Buster. Bette and Buster provided endless smiles to the children in the reading program as well as the residents at an assisted living facility. Bette attended St. Bridget Catholic Church for over 30 years where she was a faithful volunteer.
None of her amazing achievements or accolades could compete with her greatest joy in life, which was her family. She never missed a school event, soccer game, volleyball tournament or chance to have lunch with her grandchildren. Her grandchildren affectionately called her Benny. They could count on her humor and endless energy as she supported their efforts and beamed with pride. Her tireless devotion to her entire family was her most admirable achievement. She truly lived her motto…life is a gift.
Bette is survived by her two daughters, and her four grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 41 years, and by her parents.
A Celebration of a Life Well Lived is pending.