Betty Jane Owens was born in Berkeley, CA to John and Elsie Owens on Feb. 17, 1928, and passed away in Green Valley, AZ on Oct. 31, 2020. Betty attended schools in Berkeley, graduating from Berkeley High School in 1946. Although her parents divorced when Betty was young, she had strong and loving relationships with both of them. Her father taught her to ski and ice skate, about which she became passionate, and enjoyed as a lifetime hobby. Her mother encouraged her in her educational pursuits and was very proud of Betty’s academic achievements.
A few years after high school graduation Betty enrolled in a 3-year Nursing Program at Highland Hospital in nearby Oakland, California. She received her diploma and RN and began working as a pediatric nurse at Oakland’s Children’s Hospital. She loved it. The rest of her career was spent in that field. At 24 she decided she wanted to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She applied to Teachers College, Columbia University, NY and was accepted. She packed all her belongings and drove to NY by herself, a pretty daring thing for a young woman to have done in those times. After receiving her BS degree she returned to the San Francisco Bay area, moving to Walnut Creek. In the following years she did pediatric nursing at San Jose Hospital, Merritt Hospital, and Alameda County’s Highland Hospital. Then the educational “bug” bit again. She was accepted into the Master’s Degree in Nursing Program at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. Her major field of study was Pediatrics. Upon completion of her MS she returned to Highland Hospital as an instructor in Pediatric Nursing. She also taught Pediatric Nursing at Merritt College and ended her career as Director of Pediatric Nursing at St Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco.
After retirement Betty moved to Green Valley in the early 2000s. She was one of the founding members of the Green Valley Nurses Group, a professional and social organization. She also volunteered as a driver for Friends In Deed, taking fellow Green Valley residents to doctor and dental appointments. She and her dog, Riley, who she adopted from The Animal League of Green Valley, were inseparable and well known as daily visitors to the area dog park. At about the same time Betty moved to Green Valley, she inherited a cabin in the Squaw Valley area of Lake Tahoe which her father, an avid skier, had built in 1954. From the deck of the cabin they were able to view many of the 1960 Winter Olympic events.
Betty was fortunate to spend most of her retirement summers in Lake Tahoe and winters in Green Valley welcoming family members and friends to visit at both residences. Although not in good health the last few years of her life she retained her kind and pleasant nature.
She is survived by 5 cousins currently living in Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, and California as well as by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Betty’s Life which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 11:30 am. It will held at the home of her dear and longtime friend Janet Wuori, 1770 W. Placita del Gatito in Green Valley.
For those wishing to make a donation in memory of Betty, you may send it to the Squaw Valley Chapel, United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 2472, Olympic Valley, CA 96146