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Elizabeth Carbee Herman


1922 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Elizabeth Carbee Herman Obituary
July 22, 1922 - May 9, 2017 Elizabeth Carbee Herman, born July 22, 1922, slipped away early in the morning of May 9, 2017 at the age of 94. Known to her friends and acquaintances as Betty, she lived a long and full and very fortunate life. The child of Florence and Gwin Carbee, she was born in Los Angeles when the city was still significantly agrarian, but was growing rapidly and developing its particular cultural life. The arc of Los Angeles' development in the 20th century coincided favorably with her own life. As the town grew and its diversity and cultural life likewise grew, she became an avid participant in that cultural enrichment. As a young girl, she began a lifelong affection for books. Legend has it that when other young people would check out a book from the library, she would check out a shelf of books. She graduated from public school and enrolled in college at UCLA. There she excelled in her studies, and served as Editor of the Daily Bruin, evidence of her lifelong interest in journalism. And it was there that she met her husband, Gunter, when she interviewed him for the Daily Bruin. They were married in 1943. When Gunter went off to participate in WWII, she did volunteer service as a nurse. After the war, they settled in West Los Angeles and began their family. First born was Peter, then Erica, and then Michael. She always intended to pursue a career in books so while raising her family, she served as librarian at Kenter Elementary School. When her children were well along in school, she turned her attention to studies that would be the foundation of her career as a librarian. It was her intention to enroll in a master's degree program in library science at UCLA but at that time, the school had an age limit for admission, and she was beyond that age. Unable to enroll in UCLA, she enrolled in a library science degree program at USC. There she again excelled in her studies and graduated with a master's degree in library science. Her first librarian position was at the University Elementary School library at UCLA, followed by a long stint at the University Research Library, where she focused on very early publications of art books, and then followed with years of service at The Getty Center. Her passion for libraries and her knowledge of cataloging led her to participate in technical committees at the Library of Congress. She was also active in the American Library Association. As Los Angeles developed into a major cultural center, and UCLA continued to grow, she took every opportunity to participate in the cultural life of the university and of Los Angeles, attending concerts, especially her favorite piano recitals, subscribing to the theater offerings of nearly every playhouse in Los Angeles, keeping up on the movies during the golden years of Hollywood, attending lectures across the town, especially those offered at UCLA, The Getty Center, and the Los Angeles Public Library, and taking in the increasingly important exhibitions at museums throughout the city. She pursued her passion for palms and built a large collection of rare palms at her home, and was for a long time secretary of the California Palm Society. And she always had time for travel, visiting interesting places across the globe, many before they became tourist attractions and eventually having the good luck to visit more than 100 countries. Throughout her travels, she never missed inspecting an important library, beautiful botanical gardens, zoos, museums, cathedrals, and other cultural icons. She tried never to miss anything of great significance wherever her travels took her. Throughout her life, she retained a great interest in learning, and became a font of knowledge in many subjects, and always enjoyed reading. She charmed her friends and family with the vibrancy of her mind and knowledge. She delved into her life's interests with passion and thoroughness. In her later years, she did suffer from Alzheimer's, and during those years, she was greatly helped by many dedicated and kind caregivers and nurses. She passed away at her home on the morning of May 9, 2017. She is survived by her son Michael and his wife Candie, and their children Justin, Adriana and Daniel, and by her son Peter and his wife Bonnie, and by her daughter Erica and her four children.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from May 16 to May 17, 2017
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