DE ROPP, Kathleen Elizabeth Betty (Knowlman) A 40-year resident of Sonoma County, died of leukemia on February 8, 2004 at St. John's Retirement Village in Woodland, CA. She was 79. Betty was born on July 29, 1924 in Finchley, England. After high school she completed a course in horticulture, and then worked as a gardener at Kew Gardens during World War II, where she met her future husband, Robert S. de Ropp. She emigrated to the United States, where she married Robert and built a life with him first in Rocklin County, NY and then in rural Sonoma County, endeavoring to live simply off the land. An avid gardener, Betty, with her husband, grew fruits, vines, vegetables, and even wheat, in addition to many ornamental plants. She also raised chickens and helped process her husband's ocean fishing catches. Betty was known for her wonderful meals and desserts, made from scratch using homegrown ingredients. Betty supported her husband, scientist and author Robert S. de Ropp, by typing his numerous book manuscripts and showing hospitality to his many students and visitors. Betty loved poetry, classical music, good humor, sweets, giving gifts, and exchanging letters and phone calls with friends. Betty spent her final years in Yolo County in order to be near her son Jeffrey and his family and receive assisted living care. Betty was preceded in death by her husband. She is survived by a sister, Barbara Kimber, and a brother, Brian Knowlman, both of England, and four children: James de Ropp of Knoxville, TN; Susan Huntsman of Havelock, NC, Sally de Ropp of Blauvelt, NY, and Jeffrey de Ropp of Davis, CA. She is also survived by seven grandchildren.
Published in Press Democrat on Feb. 15, 2004.