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Betty Guy


1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Betty Guy Obituary
Betty Guy

Betty Guy, an enthusiastic, charming, loving, and delightful San Francisco native and resident, known worldwide for her remarkable watercolor and pen & ink landscape and cityscape paintings, passed away Friday, July 22, 2016.
Betty Guy was born in San Francisco on September 15, 1920, as the only daughter of Joseph and Fania Lipschutz. She was the first of her family born in the United States. Her parents and her three older brothers – George, Boris, and Irving – were immigrants from Vilnius, Lithuania.
She graduated from Lowell High School and later earned a bachelor's degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University. She gained expert-level mastery of many forms of visual arts through graduate courses at the University of California, Berkeley, the Art's Student League in New York, and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France.

San Franciscans became more aware of her wonderful watercolors and her skills as a landscape artist at her first museum exhibit of San Francisco scenes at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor on December 15, 1961. Her exhibit was called "the most delightful show of the year" by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Alfred Frankenstein.

Betty Guy was justifiably proud that her work has been shown all over the world with a U.S. Department of State endorsement as notable American artist. While the international appreciation of her watercolors enabled her to earn a living as an artist and see virtually every corner of the world, the love affair she had with her home town was the most gratifying and rewarding aspect of her long and productive career. One example of her iconic status in San Francisco art was when Queen Elizabeth II visited San Francisco with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the 1980s, her Highness was presented with a Betty Guy painting as a gift from the Port of San Francisco. The Port Director was sent a letter from Buckingham Palace that read, "Thank you for the splendid painting by Betty Guy… the picture will always awaken some very happy memories of their stay in your lovely city."

Betty Guy's loving and observant depictions of San Francisco and other major cities all over the world were also the reasons she gained special commissions as a commercial artist for many companies based in the City and organizations that comprise the Fine Arts community. She was the resident artist for Gump's for more than three decades, painting the wonders of San Francisco on coasters and paintings. These always sold out at Christmas time. Similar mutually beneficial outcomes came from postcards and stationary items featuring prestigious San Francisco hotels (The Mark Hopkins, Fairmont and Stanford Court), the Japanese Tea Gardens, Grace Cathedral, Bank of America, Transamerica, UCSF and French Hospital Medical Centers, the Port of San Francisco, and Royal Viking Cruise lines. Her support and contributions to the city's fine arts includes posters and program covers for the San Francisco Symphony and her unique status as the "Resident Artist" for the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet.

Her sketching and her world-class photography skills were expressed through her deep love for the Opera. While she once let slip that Jose Carreras was one of her favorite Opera singers, every major star over several decades has been included in her etchings and photography portfolios of autographed portraits. The Pat Clark Art Collection in Iowa Falls owns a beautiful triptych etching titled, "Two Sopranos and a Ballerina" which consists of three signed etchings featuring mezzo soprano Marilyn Horne, the late soprano Beverly Sills, and former prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. She was pleased that The Washington Opera Guild at the John F. Kennedy Center and the New Haven Symphony had her work on posters and programs Prominent recipients of Betty Guy's work include Plácido Domingo and the late Gianni Versace, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Betty's skill as a story teller was well known via all the cards and letters she sent to family and friends during her travels. Her literary prowess can be seen by all since her long friendship with Elaine and John Steinbeck inspired her in 1992 to write and publish "Surprise for Steinbeck," now in prestigious library collections.

Betty Guy had no children of her own and "adopted" her nephews and nieces. She gifted to all a love of the fine arts, an appreciation for other cultures of the world through her travels, and the ideal to give back to our communities as a thank you for the blessings bestowed upon us.

She is survived by her nephew Thomas Schulz, wife Nancy, and their three children –Heather, husband Jim and son, Benjamin; Jason and son, Cauley and his mother Tiffany Wilcher; and Peter; her niece Loma Schulz; her niece Joy Temes, husband Jose, and their two children –Julian and partner Paulina Gruszczynski, and Laura ("Sissy"), husband Timothy O'Leary and daughter, Sofia; her nephew David Lipschultz and wife Ann Cordova; her nephew John Schulz, wife Barbara, and their daughter Abigail, son Phillip ("Chuck") and his mother Anne Benoit; her niece Barbara Schulz; her niece Michelle Schulz; and her niece Joann Klein, husband Gordon and daughter, Adrienne and grandson, Andrew George. The family thanks her caregivers, Dece, Joji, and Imelda for their almost 2 years of loyal and devoted service that enabled Betty's wish to spend her remaining days with us at her home.

Services will be celebrated at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco at 11:00 am on August 2, 2016. Immediately following the burial there will be a Reception at Guild Hall, Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St, San Francisco.


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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from July 28 to Aug. 1, 2016
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