obit betts

Donald Byron Betts, 1928–2018

Donald Byron Betts “Pop” let go of his earthly life while resting at his Tehachapi ranch on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at 4:30 a.m. Friends are invited to join the family for the interment, which will take place Dec. 21, 2018, at 10:45 a.m. at the Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, Calif. An open house memoriam will take place at the family residence on Old Town Road in Tehachapi following the interment, from noon until 6 p.m.

Donald was born May 9, 1928, in Santa Monica, Calif., to William G. Betts and Marjorie Brown. As a child, he would venture out into the Santa Monica Mountains, becoming the youngest airplane spotter for the Civil Air Patrol.

He attended Santa Monica City College and briefly Drake University before joining the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was stationed in Japan as an Army MP and returned to California, serving in the National Guard while finishing his education at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, Calif. Donald was a school teacher for the L.A. Unified School District for 39 years, teaching at Northridge Junior High School for most of those years.

He retired in 1993 to care for his wife, Joann Lumley Krueger, who was suffering with late stage Parkinson’s disease, and moved to Tehachapi in 1996. The children and grandchildren followed him to Tehachapi, where they all finished school, started families and businesses, and began raising eight great-grandchildren in the same area.

Donald is survived by two daughters, Karyn Pfening of Tehachapi and Mary Snyder of Cheyenne, Wyo.; and one son, Donald Albert Betts of Battle Ground, Wash. He was preceded in death by his eldest daughter, Kathryn Sanders; and Joann, his wife of 62 years.

Donald was a reader and collector of books ranging from novels to military technical books, an athlete, and an expert skier. He was an artist, raced cars, climbed trees and rode horses. He maintained memberships in the NRA, VFW, and American Legion, donating frequently to all of them and supporting many organizations like Wounded Warriors.

A generic obituary does not give enough justice to the great man who has been lost. To say he lived his life to the fullest would be an understatement. Donald Byron Betts, Pop, Hawkeye, Dad, Son, Father, Grandpa, Sir and Friend, at the age of 90, has graced Heaven with his presence.

Special thanks and gratitude to Optimal Hospice staff and his daily caregivers, Kay Grotophorst and Natalie Hooker.

Services are being arranged through Wood Family Funeral Service, Inc. For condolences, please visit

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