Betty L. Croce, 81, passed away Monday, March 25, 2013 after a 2 year battle with cancer. A lifetime Stockton resident, Betty was a wife, mother, grandmother and volunteer all of her life. She graduated from Stockton High in 1948 and Cal-Berkeley in 1952 with a degree in accounting. In October 1952 she married her high school sweetheart, Robert (Bob) Croce. She worked at Morepack Cannery as an accountant for 2 years until the birth of her first daughter, Melanie in 1955, followed by a second daughter, Michelle in 1957. Betty was a stay-at-home mom, the norm for that day and age, but was meant to be a career woman. She channeled her intelligence, expertise and energy into all of her volunteer organizations. Betty was involved in the Philomathean Club for 30 plus years, holding the offices of treasurer, educational director and program director for many years. Betty was also a 40 year member of Delta Omega, Stockton Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha, a philanthropic organization. She served as president, educational chairperson, treasurer and various other local and state offices. The chapter received numerous awards from the State delegation based on Betty's work. Betty's contribution was always her volunteer time, including time at the Blind Center. Betty always gave her best to all of her positions. Fundraisers with Delta Omega donated to St. Jude's Hospital on a National basis and various local Stockton charities on an annual basis.
Betty and Bob joined a dance club in the early 1960's called the Stardusters. Here they met friends for life! The dance club met socially once a month and eventually after it disbanded, 10 couples became the "Funseekers". This group of friends met monthly, sometimes with extended family, for social activities and many world travels.
Betty loved playing cards! She started playing bridge in college at Cal Berkeley, often planning her class schedule around the daily bridge game. Betty and Bob played bridge with friends and family several times a week. They never missed a Tuesday evening with Betty's sister-in-law, Mary. After Bob's retirement Betty and Bob played a very "mean" game of bridge with the SIRS Group #46. They also played games with strange names like 'Spite and Malice' and 'Shove It'. It was a rare day that Betty did not enjoy a game of cards.
Betty was a longtime member of the San Joaquin County Orchid Society and helped her husband grow and display some of the most beautiful orchids. Betty and Bob loved to travel, going on numerous trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Tahiti, Hawaii, Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and many places in the USA. Most of their travels were with their lifelong friends of the Funseekers and others. She loved the family traditions of going to Lake Tahoe, Pajaro Dunes and Palm Springs. Betty also recently accepted a posthumous award for her husband Bob, when he was inducted into the San Joaquin County Agriculture Hall of Fame in October 2012.
Betty is preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Bob Croce, her parents James and Florence Lucas, and brother, Curt Lucas. She is survived by her daughter Melanie Trevino-Miller (Dale) of Genoa, NV and Michelle Burkhard (Jim) of Lodi. Betty's loving grandchildren are Alexander Trevino of Sacramento, Jillian Burkhard of Santa Barbara and Garrett Burkhard of Lodi. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews across the country. Betty will be truly missed by many people whose lives are forever imprinted by her leadership, love and devotion.
Friends and family are invited to attend a Celebration of Life on April 2, 2013 at 10am in the Evergreen Chapel at Cherokee Memorial Park, Lodi. Memorial contributions can be made to the
, 207 E. Alpine Ave., Stockton, CA 95204.