1926 - 2021 Betty E. (McConkey) Dickason, age 94 and a long-time resident of Redondo Beach, died peacefully in her sleep on January 22, 2021 in Citrus Heights, CA. Betty, an Oregon native came to California at the age of 12 when her parents separated and she was adopted by her Uncle and Aunt, Barney and Hazel Ewing of Arroyo Grande. The Ewings raised her as their own along with their sons, Don and Bob. Several watershed events highlight Betty's lifelong belief in love, equality and fairness. In 1942, Betty and all the townspeople in Arroyo Grande went to the high school to bid farewell to their Japanese neighbors as they were forced to board the buses to relocation camps. A third of the small farming community disappeared overnight. Betty never forgot the intense sadness and injustice of that day. A few years later, while at San Jose State College, Betty studied journalism and worked at the San Jose Mercury News as a linotype operator and part time reporter. She had befriended one of the college football players and lobbied hard with management to print a marriage announcement for the young man, who was black. Her request was rejected because it was "against company policy." Fortunately, the paper's sportswriter conspired with her and wrote up the piece, and, because the young man was quite a star for the team, the player and his new bride became the first black couple to have a marriage announcement printed in the Mercury News, albeit on the sports page. At college she met and married Eugene Lee Dickason, an engineering student. Betty earned her BA in Journalism and then she and Lee married in San Jose in 1949. They soon relocated to Redondo Beach. Betty worked for a women's magazine in downtown Los Angeles until she was forced to leave due to pregnancy. Betty and Lee went on to have four children, all born and raised in their home of 62 years on South Helberta Avenue (the house with the red door). She never missed a PTA meeting or a ball game. Betty went back to work after all the children finished high school and later, after her retirement, worked at the Redondo Beach Public Library store as a volunteer. She always loved traveling. Lee passed away in 2013, so Betty decided to relocate to the Sacramento area to be nearer to her grandchildren. She chose to live with joy at an independent living facility for seniors. She was a standout on the bean bag baseball team, and a regular on the buses to Thunder Valley Casino. She regularly came out ahead at the slot machines. She was known by her fellow seniors as always being cheerful and outgoing; ready with a kind word or a smile. When her health began to fail, she relocated to an assisted living facility. Betty is survived by her children, Lee Berlin (Steve), Dale Verkaaik (Bernard), Bryan Dickason (Carol), Jack Dickason (Tina Vilcek); grandchildren, David Berlin (Jessica), Catherine Wood, Lindsay Dickason (Matt McCabe) and Leslie Dickason (John Mathews); and great-grandchildren, Izabella and Willow Wood and Mason and Carter Berlin. Her niece Donna Ewing Correlle had a special place in her heart along with Brian and Gretchen, Austin, Tyler and Clayton Minges, and JB, Melanie and Gemma Vilsec. Betty loved her family fiercely and they loved her in return. Like her beloved husband, she has directed her family to not hold a lavish funeral, preferring to be cremated quietly. We celebrate her life and the love and kindness she, and Lee, gave so freely to friends and family alike. They will both be missed and will live forever in our hearts.
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Feb. 14, 2021.