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Elizabeth Bade Bacon

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Photo Elizabeth Bade Bacon 1922 - 2008 Elizabeth Le Breton (Bade) Bacon passed away peacefully in Berkeley after a short illness on May 30, 2008, surrounded by her loving family. Betsy, as she was universally known, was born in Berkeley on December 14, 1922 to Elizabeth Le Breton Marston and William Frederic Bade. She grew up in Berkeley and in San Diego. Betsy was a graduate of San Diego High School (1941) and Pomona College (1945), and pursued graduate work in history at UCLA. A year spent circumnavigating the world by ship and living with her family on her father's archaeological dig in (then) Palestine in 1935 awakened a lifelong interest in people from other cultures and in travel, which in her adult life began with a bicycle trip through war-torn Europe in 1949 and continued until a trip to Norway in 2006; highlights include a trip to the Soviet Union in 1961. Betsy worked for the UC Berkeley History Department in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and moved to New York City from 1953 to 1957, where she worked for Barnes & Noble. After she returned to Berkeley, Betsy joined International House as residence director in 1957, a position she filled from 1957 to 1968 and from 1974 to 1989 under its first three executive directors. In 1968 she left I-House and married Wilbur Bacon, a foreign service expert with experience in Korea. The marriage was short-lived, as Wilbur passed away unexpectedly in 1973. During her tenure at I-House, "Betsy was known for her reserved but gracious and insightful ways. She was filled with the spirit of I-House and for all it represented," recalled Director Emeritus W. Sheridan Warrick. Thousands of students and visiting scholars from foreign countries and the United States were appreciative of her skill in managing their accommodations and stay at I-House without complications, an achievement not easily undertaken given the diversity of nationalities, cultures, religions and personalities that make up its 600 residents and 2,000 non-resident members. Long after her retirement in 1989 Betsy was often recognized on the street and greeted warmly by residents who had left I-House decades before. Betsy had wide interests beyond travel, including camping, hiking, skiing, and playing the flute. Following her family tradition she was an avid member of the Sierra Club. For the past five years she had been a member of the advisory board of the Bade Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Berkeley. She is survived by her brother William G. Bade and his wife Eleanor of Berkeley; eight nieces and nephews, 11 great-nieces and nephews, and nine great-great nieces and nephews. Friends and family are invited to attend a Celebration of Betsy's Life to be held at International House on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, at 2pm. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720, or Bade Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 6, 2008
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