Betty Jean Burby (Erbe) was born on August 18, 1928 in Pasadena, California to parents Raymond Joseph Burby and Mary Odna Bell Burby. When Betty joined her family her brothers and sister were George 16 yrs. , Mary 14 yrs., and Ray Jr. 12, yrs. It was a good life. Her father, Raymond, provided well for his family as a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles as well as a private CPA. Her mother Odna loved her family. She cared for her home, baked homemade desserts from scratch daily, and loved caring for her over fifty rose bushes and other flowers in the garden.
Betty attended Pasadena City Schools throughout her educational career. She graduated from Pasadena City College with an Associates of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Development. She was voted President of her Woman’s club. She maintained life-long friendships from her college days. It was at “PCC” that she noticed a nice looking young man walking into Spanish class and she said “That’s the one for me”. Henry Robert Erbe, was a World War II Naval vet. Betty invited Bob to a dance at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and the rest is history.
Betty and Bob were married August 28, 1948 at the hilltop home of Bernard and Esther Cooper. As Betty would say “there wasn’t another man that could hold a candle to Bob”. Bob described Betty as the “Bestus”. Betty and Bob were completely devoted to each other for sixty-nine years. One of their great grandsons noticed that his Papa still opened the car doors for his bride.
The Erbe’s briefly made El Monte, California their home before moving to West Covina in 1951. In 1950 they welcomed their first child Jan followed by Bob in 1952 and Michael in 1954. In 1951 they bought their first home in West Covina and in 1962 they moved to Betty’s hometown of Pasadena where her husband Bob was a buyer for Bullocks Pasadena Department Store.
During the West Covina years Betty was a homemaker. She loved being a stay at home mom and taking trips to the beach, visiting relatives like her sister and cousins around the state.
The Erbe’s move to Pasadena was busy with raising kids, entertaining, and volunteering, at the Huntington Memorial Hospital. The world famous Rose Parade was a short walk away as well as the Rose Bowl. It was during this time that her husband Bob expanded his horizons and started his own business and investing in rental properties. Betty was always there to help Bob with cleaning and repainting the damage that renters would leave behind. She never complained.
Additionally, she would assist Bob with sales at his Gift Shows in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles with his manufacture rep business. As the kids left home she joined the workforce at Dunn’s retail leather goods store in Pasadena and later at the Lawry’s seasonings gift shop in LA. In the mid-seventies Bob began buying and selling fixer upper homes in Pasadena. Betty would help Bob bring these beautiful old homes back to life with painting woodwork, choosing new carpet, tiles etc. She welcomed the birth of Joshua the first of nine grandchildren. At the time of her passing she also had seventeen great grandchildren.
In 1977 the smog had become so bad in the LA basin that they decided to move to the beautiful coast of Pismo Beach where Bob was semi-retired and continued with real estate investing. They loved living there and would walk on the beach and experienced clean air and entertaining now two grandchildren. In 1980 the nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon was due to be fired up and Pismo Beach was downwind. Bob and Betty felt it was time to move to higher ground literally and chose Grants Pass, Oregon. Her daughter Jan and husband Terry joined in the relocation to Grants Pass also.
Betty’s husband had always wanted to farm and in their mid-fifties another adventure began. Bob rented twenty acres on Williams Hwy in the Applegate Valley and Erbe Family Farms was born. They sold their crops from the big red barn and at the local Growers Market on Saturdays. The corn was delicious and people would drive from as far away as Brookings, Oregon to stock up. Their son Michael, an agriculture student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Ca. eventually, married and joined the family farm in Grants Pass. Michael’s family grew to five young children. The older children would help at the farm stand along with his wife Deanna. Bob was looking for something less labor intensive. He slowly transitioned to growing and selling flower baskets to local nurseries and Growers Market, where Betty continued to be by Bob’s side.
Betty found great enjoyment and satisfaction when she joined a community Bible study that spanned seventeen years. Her love for the Lord was profound. Now in her eighties she decided it was time to be baptized. One August Sunday morning she and Bob with family watching were baptized at Edgewater Christian Fellowship.
Betty maintained close ties with family and friends by writing cards and letters. She especially enjoyed calls from her son Bob that lived in Southern California. She wrote thank you cards to her children for gifts and kindnesses bestowed upon her. Her nieces and nephews would travel great distances to see how she was doing. She truly was grateful for any little thing you did for her.
Betty’s great loves were her husband Bob, her children, Jan, Bob and Mike, and attending her grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s sporting events. There were football, soccer, and basketball games as well as plays. You name it she was there enjoying every minute. This past June she witnessed the first of her twin great grandchildren’s high school graduation. That was a thrill for her to be there. Her hobby was walking five to six miles a day. Her granddaughter Rachael said the walks were more like hikes. Her family was dear to her and twice a day for an hour she would pray for each individual family member from husband Bob, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren no need was too small for her to include in her prayers.
In July of this year Betty suffered two strokes on the same day. Miraculously, she survived. She was discharged to a nursing facility for rehab and subsequently an assisted living home where she and Bob could continue to be together. All she wanted to do was get well enough to go back home and one day walk on Harris Beach again. Sadly, neither wish came true. She was never again able to walk without assistance or needing the help of a wheelchair. She was in a good deal of pain from a very rare skin disease and would tell her daughter “I don’t mean to complain but I hurt”. Simple tasks such as sitting became very uncomfortable. There were a few falls as she attempted to be mobile that would set her back but the final straw was an infection that medicine and her body could not fight.
The Friday before she passed she shared with her daughter, Jan, that for two nights she had been hearing men with beautiful voices singing. Hospitalized, when questioned, “Betty, where are you? She replied “on my way to Heaven”.
A few short days later with family by her side she did make her way to Heaven all because she believed in her King the Lord Jesus Christ. Betty’s immediate family includes her husband Robert, daughter Jan Mathews and her husband Terry, and son Robert all of Grants Pass, Oregon as well as her daughter- in- law in Canby, Oregon Deanna Erbe, widow of her son Michael who passed in 2015. Betty was preceded in death by great grandsons Jonathan Mathews and Carder Doman. Her remaining family will miss her love, sense of humor and presence but is deeply grateful that they will one day be reunited!
A memorial service will be at 1:00 p.m., Friday, November 10, 2017 at Hull & Hull Funeral Directors. Private interment will be at Eagle Point National Cemetery.