California native Elizabeth McDonald, 93, died peacefully Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, at a Morro Bay care facility.
Betty, as she was known since childhood, was born in November 1916 in Campbell, Calif., to Florence and Maxwell Mumma. She and her brother, Harold, were raised on their parents’ apricot and prune ranch and attended Santa Clara Valley schools.
Not the least bit interested ranch life, Betty turned her love for art into a lifelong career. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at San Jose State College and attended the Chouinard Art Institution in Los Angeles.
She worked in the field of commercial illustration until the 1960s, and later expanded her fine arts training to include painting, batik and printmaking.
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In 1939, Betty married the love of her life, Mel McDonald, in Carmel, Calif. During World War II, she worked for the U.S. Navy at Moffatt Field designing blimps.
After the war, the couple moved to Salinas, Calif., where their three children were born. They moved to San Luis Obispo in 1959 when Mel was transferred to Crocker Bank on Monterey Street.
Betty and Mel served on committees that created the San Luis Obispo Art Center and Mission Plaza. Betty was president of the San Luis Obispo Art Association and a member of the Monday Club, Children’s Home Society and University Women.
She studied watercolor and oil painting with Arne Nybak and printmaking with Robert Reynolds.
Mel and Betty moved to Orange County in 1971 when Mel was transferred to Crocker Bank branches in Costa Mesa. Betty continued her art career, with her work shown in many Southern California galleries.
Mel retired in 1980, and they moved to their new Lodge Hill home in Cambria. Betty was active in the Allied Arts Association and Printmakers Society. She organized the first Petals and Palettes art show.
After Mel’s death in 1988, Betty continued to live on Lodge Hill. She enjoyed going out with the ‘Lunch Bunch,’ crossword puzzles, gardening and computer Solitaire. Shortly after her 90th birthday, she moved to The Manse on Marsh in San Luis Obispo, where she reconnected with old friends.
She spent her final weeks lovingly tended by the Bayside Care Center and Hospice Partners of the Central Coast.Betty is survived by sons Jim (Lynne) McDonald of Egan, Minn., and Bob (Susan) McDonald of Cambria; daughter, Laurie (John) Schricker of Cardiff, Calif.; five grandchildren; numerous cousins; and many friends.
Burial will be at the Cambria Cemetery.
A celebration of her life will be held later.
The family suggests memorial contributions to Hospice Partners of the Central Coast, 277 South St. Ste. R, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.
Sign her guest book at sanluisobispo.com/obituaries