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Betty Jane Grau

1925 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Betty Jane Grau Obituary
October 22, 1925 - July 7, 2018 (Betty) Jane Grau left her body on July 7 after 92 years of hard use and loving life ferociously. Born Betty Jane Horton to Faye Margaret and Ralph Dewey Horton Sr. on October 22, 1925, she was the youngest of three children. The family moved around a lot during the Depression, settling finally in Pacific Grove and Monterey, California, where she lived with her parents, brother, Ralph Jr. and sister Harriet until she was 15. She left with her mother and brother and relocated to Culver City where her mother supported the household working at Helm's Bakery. She attended Hamilton High School where she proudly managed to graduate. She found work at the deli counter at the old Farmers Market at Fairfax and 3rd in Los Angeles. It was there she met and fell in love with Leonard Earl Grau. When they married she was doubly blessed as she got a ready-made family, becoming mother to Leonard Jr. Four more children (Wayne, Peggy, Shirley and Susan) followed in quick succession. She created the kind of home where there was never just her family around the dinner table. The kids' friends were always welcome and she would, at the drop of a hat, whip up a batch of tacos or a plate of shortbread. Friends remember her home as smelling of either roast chicken or chocolate chip cookies. She made many lifelong friends while her children were young and she was introduced to what became a life's passion: Bridge. The bridge players became her homies and they all enjoyed Bridge camping trips at Leo Carrillo Park north of Malibu. The children were left to their own devices while the homies enjoyed unlimited playing time. Although she lost many of these friends over the years, they were still playing 3 weeks before her death. At 50 she undertook a course of study and earned a Licensed Vocational Nurse license and began a career that lasted 15 years managing the GI Laboratory at Washington Hospital. She enjoyed her work and was proud of her accomplishment. She nurtured and supported her children. She has been the vital link to a generation for her nephews Scott, Craig and Peter and their children after their father, Jane's brother, Ralph, passed away in 2004. She cared for friends and family as they negotiated life, illness and death. They loved to hear her stories and she listened, really listened, to theirs. She baked 80 loaves of pumpkin bread every fall, freezing them (wrapped in aluminum foil and looking like kilos of cocaine) and distributing to family, friends, friends of friends as Christmas presents. She found a wonderful retreat at her sister's home on the Yuba River in Northern California where 10 acres provided a place with enough room for everyone. She and Leonard spent many happy vacations there helping with projects, floating in the river, sitting around campfires, playing cribbage and poker with children, nephews and nieces, great-nephews and nieces and grandchildren. Every one of them occupies a permanent home in her heart and she in theirs. It is there that the ashes of her husband, Leonard, and her youngest daughter, Susan, are mixed with the soil and it is there she wants to rest her own. Being a grandmother was one of her greatest joys. She spent 20 years driving the 405 freeway to visit her 6 grandsons (Evan and Elliot Grau, Matt and Kevin Read, and Colin and Patrick Selsted) and one great-granddaughter (Kylie Mae Read). She cooked, played, did laundry, attended school campouts, and drove kids around. Her greatest life sorrow was the premature death of her beloved grandson, Evan. In her last days she was managing distribution of her effects, lovingly (and benignly) meddling in her children's plans and generally directing traffic. She died a natural death in comfort and surrounded by family and friends. A memorial is planned for the fall. In lieu of flowers or donations, please have a glass of chardonnay with a few ice cubes in it and think of your favorite moments with her. ?
Published in the Los Angeles Times from July 12 to July 14, 2018
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