A Loss to the Community: Dr. Betty Radelet

Betty Jo Radelet DC, ND, honored with NCNM’s inaugural Living Legend award, the first NCNM naturopathic female graduate, and the namesake of NCNM’s Radelet Hall, died in her sleep at the age of 95 after a long battle with cancer last Wednesday, June 8.

“Dr. Betty,” as she was known, was greatly beloved by many, including those within the naturopathic community, for her warm heart and loving kindness, as well as her dedication to her profession and her patients. Prior to retiring at the age of 89 in December 2009, she held the distinction of being “the oldest continuously practicing naturopathic physician in Oregon.”

Dr. Betty was widowed with seven children when she was 41. She was determined to enroll at Western States Chiropractic College (now University of Western States), where she completed her doctorate of chiropractic degree. She enrolled at NCNM and earned her doctorate in naturopathic medicine in 1968.

She practiced medicine in Washougal, Washington, for nine years and in 1980 opened a clinic in Beaverton where she lived. In her private practice, Dr. Betty specialized in physical medicine while serving as the primary care physician for many families. A devoted Nature Cure practitioner, her philosophy and practice highlights are chronicled in her book, Antidotes and Anecdotes, Forty Years of Smiles and Tears in Natural Health Clinic, which she published in 2009.

When he awarded Dr. Betty the Living Legend Award in 2010, NCNM President, Dr. David Schleich expressed his gratitude to her for her lifetime of service and selfless contributions in the advancement of naturopathic medicine.

He then said, “All of us are indebted to the doctors who built the tradition of natural medicine in the Northwest with quiet determination, continuously helping patients improve and maintain good health. Their dedication to their patients and to the practice of natural medicine is the bedrock of the profession and serves as a shining example for the thousands of NCNM graduates who have followed in their footsteps.”

Upon learning of her passing, Dr. Schleich said, “Dr. Betty was truly one of the bright lights of our community, a pioneer in the revival of the profession, an inspiration particularly to women in the health professions, and a consummate family doctor. We will miss her. We share our heartfelt sympathy with Dr. Betty’s family and circle of close friends.”