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Elizabeth Rose (Betty) Hunter

1921 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Elizabeth (Betty) Rose Brigham Elizabeth (Betty) Rose Brigham died peacefully on October 1st. Betty was born on January 15, 1921 in San Francisco to James Henry Hunter, Jr. and Ruth Baugh Hunter. James was a second generation San Franciscan who met Ruth during WWI when he was stationed in New Jersey. Betty was the first of five children -- Estelle, James III, John and Richard followed. Sadly, Ruth died in 1932, when Betty was 11 and the youngest only 2. James worked in the shipping department of Shreve & Co. Jewelers. His wife's sudden death from pneumonia left him with five children and limited resources during the height of the depression. Thankfully, his older sister (Ethel), who was engaged at the time to be married to a storekeeper in the gold country, stepped in and became substitute mother and housekeeper. Betty graduated at 16 from Lowell High and went to work at Roos Brothers as a sales clerk. It was there, in 1940, that she met William C. (Bill) Brigham. Bill had just graduated from Stanford and was working in the RB Advertising Department. Betty wasn't particularly impressed but eventually agreed to a date. They were married in December of 1941 and William Charles Jr. (Bill) was born in 1942. Following were Thomas (Tom), Kathleen (Kathy) and James (Jim) in 1943, 1945 and 1946 respectively. In the meanwhile, WWII was looming and Bill decided to turn in his Brooks Brothers suit for a hard hat, taking a job in the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in San Francisco. By the time Tom was born, they had also moved to a new tract home in San Mateo. They would live there for 20 years, during which time Bill advanced from the shipyard to the General Manager's office. Having four children in four years, Betty was kept fairly busy at home through the 40s. But as her children started school, she began a lifelong habit of volunteering for everything. She participated in the PTA at the three public schools her kids attended and was President of each of those PTAs at some point. She was a Boy and Girl Scout leader and involved in the regional organizations. She volunteered as a poll worker and went door-to-door for campaigns to cure polio. She was also active in her church, St. Gregory's, and wrote newsletters for several organizations. By the 60s, Betty had joined Bill as an avid golfer. They were early members of Peninsula Golf & Country Club and their children grew up there -swimming, caddying and playing golf. Family vacations often included attending the Crosby (after praying at the Carmel Mission for Arnie). Betty utilized her volunteer skills to promote women's golf and eventually served as an official in the Northern California Women's Golf Association. As the kids began graduating from high school, Betty went to work again to help with college costs. In 1970, Bill was promoted to Vice President of Shipbuilding and they moved to Bethlehem, PA. Betty continued her life as an active volunteer and enjoyed periodic visits from her children and grandchildren. By 1978, Bill had retired and they took up residence at Silverado, near Napa. Betty found a new church home at St. Apollinaris in Napa and many volunteer opportunities. She was named Napa Volunteer of the Year at some point and was active as a volunteer at Silverado during golf tournaments. Bill and Betty also traveled in Mexico, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Europe. Bill died in 1987 after a lengthy illness and Betty continued living at Silverado until moving to Ukiah more than 15 years later. During those years, she remained active in her church and community, while traveling with friends to places like Medjugorje, Singapore, and the Baltic Sea. She also enjoyed visiting her children and grandchildren in Northern and Southern California. Despite surgeries for breast cancer and multiple knee replacements, Betty was very healthy and active throughout most of her life. A broken leg, coupled with advancing dementia, confined her to a wheelchair in later years. But her energy and spirit remained strong. Her last years were filled with comfort and love, thanks to Elizabeth and Jay Santos and the wonderful family of caregivers at Holy Child Care Home. Betty was predeceased by her parents and husband, by her sister, Estelle Moore, by her brothers Jim and John, and by her nephew, Clifford Hunter. Betty is survived by her brother Richard Hunter and her children: Bill Brigham (Renee Curry), Tom Brigham (Carrie), Kathy Brigham (J.P. Lohr), and Jim Brigham (Judi). She is also survived by her grandchildren and great grandchildren: Michele Ojeda (Roger); Lisa Boswell (James) and daughter Hannah; Brooke Brigham and daughter Layla Island; Tess Brigham (Steve Pogatch) and son Max; Matt Brigham (Jill) and sons Ben, Will and Nate; Chris Brigham (Tina Glezakos), son Zane and daughter Finley; Caitlin Brigham; Laurel Brigham; and MeiMei Curry. She is also survived by nieces and nephews and their children, as well as former children-in-law Patricia Martin, Steve Baird, Ann Einstein, and Roberta McClellan. Donations in Betty's name to , Hospice of Ukiah or are appreciated by her family.
Published in Ukiah Daily Journal on Oct. 7, 2018
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