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1926 – 2020
Betcher obit pic
Roberta Josephine Field Betcher recently passed away at the age of 94. She was known for her ability to laugh at herself, abiding love for her family and friends, enjoyment of reading, and trust in humankind.
Bobbie Jo (or BJ) began life as the 3rd of 4 children of Roberta Spradling Field and Carl Field on February 16, 1926 in Campbell, California. Though Campbell is now known as the southern Silicon Valley, in those days, the small town was a hub for locally grown fruit. Apricots, plums, and other fruit were processed at Campbell’s 17-acre drying yard. Mom remembered being surrounded by fruit orchards as a child, and riding her bike to work in the drying sheds, cutting ‘cots for spending money.
Bobbie Jo’s father, Carl, owned a grocery and hardware store called the Field Market in downtown Campbell. He continued to serve the local community long before superstores were around. BJ would help out stocking shelves, while her brothers got to take Carl’s truck and deliver orders around town. Bobbie Jo graduated from Campbell High School in 1945 and completed her B.S. at San Jose State University. She went on to become the editor of Chevron Oil’s employee newspaper in Richmond, CA.
Bobbie Jo’s life changed drastically after a blind date. That blind date eventually led to a marriage proposal from Ray Betcher, who had a farm out in the Central Valley of California near Escalon. Being a farmer’s wife was a whole new kind of life! Country living ensued. In the next 4 years, the couple had 3 kids of their own. It was a busy time for Bobbie and Ray, but Grandma Betcher also lived on the ranch and had the older kids care in hand, with help in the morning from Captain Kangaroo on the ranch’s only TV set.
Bobbie joined the local Presbyterian Church, rolled up her sleeves, and quickly learned the ins-and-outs of being a farmer’s wife. Her dear friend from the nearby Homestead Dairy, Shirley Holmes, taught her well. Church, 4-Tree Elementary School, and 4-H all became central to Bobbie’s life. Sadly, tragedy struck the young family in 1961 when their only son Rudy contracted the measles, became very ill with subsequent viral encephalitis, and passed away. The loss of Rudy was never far from Bobbie’s heart for the rest of her life.
In 1964, Ray and Bobbie welcomed another daughter, completing their family. Turkeys, cattle, and almonds were the primary source of income for the family for many years. In searching for the perfect simile to describe their relationship, comedian George Burns summed it up, “Love is a lot like a toothache. It doesn’t show up on X-rays, but you know it’s there.” Ray and Bobbie enjoyed 48 years together until Ray was taken by cancer in 2002.
Unexpectedly, at the age of 81, Bobbie found a new partner in Robert (Bob) Whitt. “The Bob’s”, as they were sometimes called, were thrilled to have discovered one another. They were married the summer of 2007 surrounded by family and friends. The ten years they had together were not long enough to enjoy their travel, reading, and the lively discussions Bob led at Bethel. Dr. Whitt (former Superintendent of Schools), was a teacher right up until the end of summer 2017, conducting his “Great Courses” groups at Bethel. Bobbie soldiered on after losing Bob, but truly missed her partner.
Her sister Mary Sue and brothers Carl and Richard all preceded her in death. Bobbie leaves her 3 daughters; Martha (Garth), Janet, and Linda (Jeff), 2 granddaughters Sage Pintler and Grace Gifford, and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank all of the caregivers at Bethel Retirement for their loving attention to Bobbie. While not the cause of her passing, COVID was a unique challenge for all, and Bobbie’s family recognizes the excellent care she received in the Bethel Community. An outdoor memorial service is planned at a later date in Modesto, please contact Martha at if you wish to be notified.
Donations in Bobbie’s memory can be made to the American Association of University Women online at OR or send a check to: AAUW Development Office, PO Box 98045, Washington, DC 20090-8045
The Escalon (Calif.) Times

July 29, 2020