Bette Ann Burzell

Burzell, Bette Ann 08/15/1923 ~ 10/20/2012 VISTA -- Bette Ann Burzell passed away peacefully at her home in Vista on October 20, 2012, with her daughter, Judy and her dog, Guinness by her side. A resident of Vista since 1946, Bette was born to Ray and Maudie Williams in Oklahoma City, Okla. She and her sister, Marion, spent those early years on the family farm. She told tales of great family dinners and holidays shared with aunts and uncles, grandfathers and mothers and cousins. Early in her life the family moved often as her father changed jobs during the Depression, eventually leading them to Santa Monica. In the 1930's, Bette and the family lived for a short time in Prescott, Ariz., where she and Marion attended Prescott High School. In 1938 they moved to California and Bette attended Santa Monica High School (Samohi), where she graduated in 1940. She entered Santa Monica City College in 1940, where she played tennis, sang in "The Mikado" and participated in college life to the fullest. She made life long friends who still keep in touch. On December 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Like most young people, Bette's life changed overnight. The young men at college were suddenly gone. By the time Bette transferred to UCLA in 1942, the country was fully engaged in war and the hardships of the war reached all the way home from the battles overseas. In 1942, Bette joined a unique group of young women in the Desert Battalion. Started by the wife of legendary Hollywood actor, Edward G. Robinson, Gladys "Robbie" Robinson, the service organization entertained servicemen in California. Celebrity guests such as John Garfield, Jack Benny and Richard Conte entertained at the events held in some of the grand mansions of Hollywood and beautiful historic hotels. But for the most part, these young women took time off from their jobs and volunteered to serve wherever they were needed. Most often they were bused to remote military bases, never knowing exactly where they were headed. Early in 1945, Bette met a young ensign in the U.S. Navy who was attending Cal Tech, Linden R. Burzell. Just weeks after that first introduction they were engaged and Lin graduated and was transferred to the east coast. For months he wrote almost daily until Bette could join him in New York to be married on November 7, 1945. Shortly after the ceremony the war ended and they returned to California, where they settled in Vista. Their first real home, on Plymouth Drive in Vista, was a 400-sq.ft. bungalow that they bought for $500 and had moved to the site. Bette made it into a beautiful home and not long after the couple added a Quonset hut heated by an old cast-iron stove. Bette joined the Junior Women's Club and served as its president. She was involved over the years with the Sew-and-So's, the Whirlaways, and All Saints Episcopal Church, where she headed the youth group. When they moved to the home on Bonnie Brae in 1960, Bette did all of the architectural designs, elevations, electrical and plumbing drawings for the house. She made that home a place where the family has gathered for over 52 years. Here she raised two children, enjoyed five grandchildren, painted, perfected the art of sewing and made every holiday into a special occasion. Her world was filled with bright colors and flowers. She loved art and music and dance. Her passion lay in giving - she shared with everyone she came into contact with, whether it was something they needed or an understanding ear. Bette is survived by her two children, Judy and Linden; and five grandchildren. Family and friends gathered in a celebration of her life shortly after her passing. No funeral services are planned. Sign the Guest Book online

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Nov. 18, 2012