Elizabeth (Beth) Secrest Poppendiek(1920 – 2012)

In the early morning hours of Monday, the 3rd of December, 2012, Elizabeth (Beth) Secrest Poppendiek passed away. She died peacefully in her sleep. She was 92 years old and had a wonderful life.
Beth was born on October 14, 1920, in Modesto, CA, growing up on the family farm in Empire, a small community seven miles east of Modesto. She was the youngest of four children, two older sisters, Wilma and Esta, and a brother, Robert. She attended Empire Grammar School, Modesto High School and Modesto Junior College where she decided to become a high school history teacher. She chose UC Berkeley to get her teaching credential, where at an Honor Student Society rumba dance class, she met her future husband, Heinz. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco and worked for a chemical shipping company during the war years. She and Heinz were married August 15, 1943, and settled in Berkeley where she worked at the UCB Registrar Office and Heinz worked in the Engineering Dept. Two years later their first child was born. While raising their family of three children they lived in Venice, California, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, before moving to La Jolla in December 1956.
Always the loving, upbeat and encouraging center of the family, she was enthusiastically supportive and involved in many aspects of her family's lives, whether serving as Girl or Boy Scout troop leader, field trip chaperon, PTA member or working alongside her husband as bookkeeper for his two companies, Geoscience Ltd. and Thermonetics. She was both a corporate officer and company bookkeeper for a 52 year period, contributing greatly to the success of both companies.
Over the years she played many roles in community organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the La Jolla Women's Club. But she was most passionate about volunteering for the Scripps Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and its important support role for the hospital, serving different terms as an officer or staff member for 47 years, from 1963 until 2010.
Beth always looked forward to family gatherings and summer visits with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, loved cooking for her family, especially baking pies from the fruit she and Heinz grew on their hilltop, ocean view garden. She loved entertaining her many wonderful friends, was an avid bridge player and belonged to at least two groups at any one time.
She is survived by her husband of 69 years, Heinz; her son, Niel; daughter, Carolyn and son-in-law, Sam; son, Mark and daughter-in-law, Margaret; grandson, Ian and his wife, Carrie; granddaughter, Erin and her husband, Nate; and three great-grandchildren, Natalie, Riley and Alice. She is also survived by her nieces, Freya, Linda and Vicky; sister-in-law, Arlene; and nephews, John, Doug and Eddie.
A family memorial gathering will be held in early January. Please call 730-473-8458 for more information.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the new Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, c/o Scripps Health Foundation, P.O. Box 2669, La Jolla, CA 92038.
Published in La Jolla Light on Dec. 20, 2012