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Elizabeth “Betty” A. Howard, age 101, passed away peacefully in her home in Davis on July 26, 2018. Betty was born in Eureka, CA on January 21, 1917. She lived in Davis most of her life with her husband of 78 years, Walter “Howdy” E. Howard, of Davis. She outlived her husband by just 27 days. A young grandson popularized a phrase about her, “Betty, you can do it!”, which became her mantra.
Betty was the oldest daughter of six children of Edward B. Kendall and Clara Emily Beasley Kendall. The Kendalls moved to Berkeley by 1920, but summers were spent on her grandmother’s sheep ranch in Blocksburg, Humboldt County.
Betty graduated from Berkeley High School in 1934. She attended UC Berkeley from 1934-1938, majoring in history and minoring in music, where she met Howdy at her Alpha Chi Omega sorority’s open house dance. After she graduated from Cal, Betty taught first grade and music in Penryn for one year. Betty and Howdy married in Berkeley on June 12, 1940. The next morning they arrived in Yosemite where Howdy reported for duty as a summer ranger and Betty started her married life in a tent.
They moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where Howdy started his PhD program. World War II interrupted Howdy’s education as he volunteered for the U.S. Army. During the war, Betty lived with Howdy’s parents in Davis and when Howdy was stationed at Fort Ord, they lived in Carmel. After the war, Howdy completed his PhD at the University of Michigan and the family moved back to Davis. Betty accompanied Howdy on his work related trips to about 80 countries, including two one year assignments in New Zealand in 1957 and 1963. She was Howdy’s secretary and interpreter at times on these international trips. Betty was active in many volunteer organizations, including the International House in Davis.
She had a strong interest in genealogy, following her roots to cemeteries in County Mayo (Ireland), Blocksburg, Yreka, Willows and to California missions. She wrote a booklet entitled “Clara Berryessa” which traces her ancestors back to the Anza Expedition. Betty often said, “I don’t have enough time” as she had many interests. She was a perfectionist with her sewing and knitting and she filled their home with her hand made braided rugs. She loved gardening and preserving home grown produce.
Betty is survived by her sister, Emily McCaig of Kauai. She is also survived by her three children - Tom Howard of Yuba City, Kathryn Crow of Oakland, and Casey Howard of Baker City, Oregon; five grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren. Betty and Howdy celebrated their 100th birthdays together with relatives at the International House in Davis. Pursuant to Betty’s wishes, there will be no memorial service beyond the 100th birthday party. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Yolo Hospice or the charity of your choice.
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