Sunday, April 18, 2010

Betty Hale Newton—Mom, Grandmother, Gardener, Teacher, Writer

Betty Hale Newton was born in 1934 and died in San Diego on March 5, 2010. This blog is to honor her.

Memorial Information:
The memorial will be outdoors at Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs.
It begins at 2:00 p.m. Park in the back.
15602 Olde Hwy 80
Flinn Springs, CA 92021
(619) 390-1523

Her San Diego Union obit article:
Betty Newton: Gardening expert and author loved nature, was ‘a natural-born teacher’
MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2010 AT 12:05 A.M.

Betty Newton, a teacher, writer and gardener, did not limit her instruction to the classroom at Grossmont Foothills Adult School.

“She was a natural-born teacher,” said her daughter Holly. “Whether it was her seamstress, trying to teach her English ... she was always trying to help people.”

She also loved nature.

“Her last words were, ‘Enjoy the sun coming up on the mountains,’ ” daughter Laura said. Mrs. Newton died March 5 due to complications from scoliosis. She was 76.

Though her career path did not line up with her degree in political science, she read the newspaper every morning, discussed politics at most dinners with her husband, Gil, and was an active participant in the League of Women Voters.

She taught gardening and landscaping, and she was not bashful about sharing her knowledge.

“She was a teacher always, so if she wanted to tell you there was too much ginger in your fruitcake, she would,” Laura said. Occasionally, Mrs. Newton’s passions overlapped.

“If there was a tree in front of a government building, and it was the wrong kind of tree for the area, she would call somebody or write them,” Laura said.

She taught her daughters with encouragement rather than instruction.

“She was always more about teaching us and letting us explore than being dictatorial,” Laura said. “She let me dig up part of the lawn to make a canal system. ... She didn’t mind.

“She was an incredible mom.”

Mrs. Newton wrote about gardening in San Diego for years, contributing a monthly column called Gardener at Large to The San Diego Union and writing “Gardening Beautifully in Southern California,” a handbook.

“As I’ve become more involved with the gardening community, almost everyone around here has taken a class by her or read something by her,” said Mary James, who was Mrs. Newton’s editor at the Union. “She helped me understand things that can come only from years of experience.”

Mrs. Newton was born Betty Louise Hale on Feb. 26, 1934, in San Diego.

She met her future husband in elementary school, and the pair graduated from Grossmont High in 1951. Soon after, she began her college career at San Diego State and Pomona College, but her education was put on hold in 1955, when she married Gil.

“She was a very attractive blonde,” he said. “She always had a beautiful smile because she liked people.”

After a honeymoon to Tucson, the couple drove up the Alcan Highway to Alaska, where Gil was serving in the Army Ordnance Corps.

It wasn’t long before the Newtons returned to Southern California and finished their degrees at the University of California Los Angeles in 1958, again graduating in the same class. They nearly attended law school together after both passed the entrance exam, but Mrs. Newton opted to focus on starting a family.

In 1962, the family bought a home in El Cajon, which always had brown carpet so the dirt from the garden wouldn’t show. Mrs. Newton lived there the rest of her life.

Mrs. Newton is survived by her husband, Gil, daughters Laura and Holly and four grandchildren.

A memorial will be held at 2 p.m. April 25 at Summers Past Farms.

The family requests donations be made to the Red Cross for Haitian Earthquake Relief.

Please feel free to leave a comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Laura, pleasure to meet you and your family at the beautiful service for your mom. I smile w/ delight with Holly's eulogy of your mother and the truth of it. You all are amazing and I see her influence in the both of you, and your children.

    What a pleasure as the day unfolded. The sing a longs, memories, yummy cookies, and the kids ! We are thrilled to have shared her life, and the gorgeous spring day to celebrate it. It is not mere coincidence that her passing was in the springtime as that is what she brought the world-sunshine and flowers.

    Bryn and David