Belinda Lee (White) Garrettson 1949 - 2020

 The Garrettson family is profoundly saddened to say goodbye to our beloved Belinda Lee (White) Garrettson, who passed away at home surrounded by family.

“Family is everything,” was Belinda’s core belief. Though she spent many years teaching the children of McMinnville, volunteering for Meals on Wheels, at the First Presbyterian community dinner and as a member of the AAUW, her family was always the center of her world.

Belinda was born August 13, 1949, to Virgil and Dora White. She was the first of her family to attend college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from PSU and later another bachelor's in Elementary Education from Western Oregon State University. Later in her career, she earned a master's in Education from George Fox University.

Belinda grew up in West Linn, where she attended West Linn High School and was a member of the dance team and met the man who would become her husband of 51 years, Daryl Garrettson. They married in December of 1968.

She and Daryl married when Belinda was just 19 and Daryl was headed to serve in the Army. The early years of their marriage included a series of tiny apartments in New Jersey and Texas while Belinda worked odd jobs and Daryl served.
In 1971, the couple moved back to Portland, where both attended college, thanks to Belinda working for PSU. Belinda worked as a social worker in Portland while Daryl earned his J.D. at Lewis & Clark. Belinda then earned her education degree and became a teacher for the rest of her working life. They had their first son, Nathan, in 1978. Belinda moved with her husband and son that same year to McMinnville, Oregon. Belinda’s second son, Sean, made them a happy family of four in 1983.

Belinda spent the next years raising her boys and teaching kindergarten and first grades at Newby and then Grandhaven elementary schools. She loved teaching children to read and explore. Fond of art, she often incorporated great art and artists into her teaching and supported artists in residence. She wrote and won a grant for early literacy education, of which she became a coach.

Her love of literacy education also took her and her colleagues to New Zealand, one of many international adventures Belinda would take in her lifetime. Family trips were a large part of these years, especially to Hawaii, the Garrettson's home away from home. Hawaii was so special to Daryl and Belinda that they chose to renew their vows there in 2014, surrounded by their sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

Belinda and Daryl also enjoyed traveling together in Europe, though it was Belinda who would adventure to South Africa and Zimbabwe on Safari. She traveled with her granddaughters Kendra and Kalea when she could to England, Costa Rica and two epic road trips throughout the United States. As a family, all the Garrettsons loved traveling to Belinda’s happiest place, Disneyland, at Christmastime. She loved to photograph the delighted faces of her four granddaughters on those grand adventures. Those photographs made it every year into a personalized scrapbook for each of her four granddaughters, who were blessed to grow up next door to their grandma Belinda and to have such touching mementos of their childhoods made more joyful by the presence of their beloved Grandma Belinda.

In her retirement after more than 20 years teaching for McMinnville School District, Belinda continued to serve her community, clog, jazzercise, take up yoga and meet with her “teacher friends” once a month for coffee, all while traveling the world and caring for her sons and granddaughters. She volunteered in her granddaughters’ classrooms for all those years as well. She also served on the boards of the Give a Little Foundation, the Scott Banke Scholarship Fund, and on the historical society of the first Presbyterian Church, of which she was a long-term member and elder. She helped create and curate the Narthex Gallery at First Presbyterian Church as a member of the arts committee there.

Much of her personal time was spent dancing (clogging), creating and learning to create art, and watching musical theater when she got the chance. She won Best in Show for her artwork at the Yamhill County Fair and, though she would never call herself and artist, made many beautiful works of art for her friends and family throughout her life.

Belinda leaves this world more beautiful with her love, her art, her smiles and laughter. She is survived by her husband, Daryl; her sons, Nathan and Sean; their wives, Molly and Shawna; and her four granddaughters, Kalea, Kendra, Grace and Addison. She is also survived by her brother, Michael White.

A celebration of life will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, February 15, at First Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Give a Little Foundation in honor of Belinda’s wonderful life. To leave online condolences, please visit



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