Elizabeth Chaffee Levasheff

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Betty Levasheff, talented artist and loving wife, mother, and grandmother, died peacefully at Valle Verde in Santa Barbara. She chose to depart on April 27th and join her husband Alex on their 70th anniversary.

Betty was born September 27th, 1919, in Warren, Pennsylvania to Reginald and Edna Chaffee. She spent her childhood in the Pennsylvania logging town of Endeavor, attended schools in Chautauqua and White Plains, New York, and finished high school at Northfield Seminary in Gill, Massachusetts.

The coastal redwoods and rugged beauty of Northern California/Oregon were irresistible to Reginald, so in 1936 the Chaffee family moved to Northern California where he continued his career in the lumber industry. That same year Betty started U.C. Berkeley, graduating in 1940 with a B.A. in Sociology. She continued her education at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where she met and fell in love with Alexandre Levasheff. In 1943 Betty earned her Certificate in Illustration and married Alex.

After beginning their life together in Sierra Madre, Alex and Betty moved to Glendale, where they had three sons. In 1954 they moved to Northridge, then eventually settled in Santa Barbara in 1969.

Betty never missed an opportunity to teach her sons about literature, art, music, and family history. She read to them, reminisced about Chautauqua workshops, and embraced Alex's culture such that every family celebration included dishes made from Russian family recipes and Rachmaninoff on the record player. After their move to Santa Barbara, Betty immersed herself in the arts. She enrolled in Adult Ed painting, sumi-e, and sculpture classes, subscribed to the Community Arts Music Association, and belonged to the Santa Barbara Art Association. She also attended El Montecito Presbyterian Church, learned tai-ji, and was very involved with her grandchildren Rick, Ryan, Mari, Peter, and Peter's wife Shizuka.

In addition to her grandchildren, Betty is survived by sons Michael (friend Donna), Donald (wife Page), and David (wife Janice Toyo), and many nieces, nephews and friends. She was predeceased by her parents and her sister, Frances, as well as her beloved husband Alex. She is with her heavenly family now, dancing with her "Bear".

The family wishes to thank the staff at Valle Verde and Maravilla for their skilled compassionate care and kindness. No public service will be held. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Santa Barbara Art Association, P. O. Box 61642, Santa Barbara, CA 93160, or to the American Heart Association, 212 W. Figueroa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from May 7 to May 11, 2013
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