September 11, 1937 - July 15, 2019
Elizabeth Ann “Betsy” (Leavitt) Trempy of Benicia, CA passed away at home in the loving arms of her family on July 15, 2019. Betsy was born to Mary Teresa (Drumheller) and Dr. Harry L. Leavitt on September 11, 1937, in Olympia, WA. Betsy grew up in the Seattle Area, and lived the majority of her teenage years on Mercer Island. Throughout her life, Betsy regaled stories of her youth - fishing for salmon or watching the thunder boat races on Lake Washington, camping in Idaho with her family, travelling to her father’s naval posts during World War II, and driving her neighbor’s Mercedes Benz. Betsy was a spirited, courageous, independent lady who travelled far from home to attend college at UC Santa Barbara in California where she obtained her BA in Home Economics in 1959. She was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority where she met many of her life-long friends. After college, Betsy taught home economics and gym at James Lick High School in San Jose where she met her future husband, best friend, and the love-of-her-life, Robert “Bob” Trempy in 1961. Betsy and Robert married on June 16, 1962 in San Jose, CA. They honeymooned in Carmel; returning many times over the course of their marriage. Their marriage of 57 years was “one for the books”. They always showed and shared mutual respect, empathy, honesty, love, laughter, devotion, and friendship to and for each other – powerful lessons and messages passed along to their three daughters and later to their grandchildren. While they made it look easy, their relationship was hard work, challenges, and sometimes tears; but they always resolved to stick together and never gave up on each other – love and devotion for each other and their family -carrying them through the tough times as well as the good times. Betsy’s crowning accomplishment was raising three very strong, independent, and smart daughters – often telling others she unwaveringly expected her daughters to seek their own paths, follow their dreams (even when it meant travelling far from her and the family) and to stand up for their beliefs/opinions - even if/when she disagreed with them. She loved her daughters so much and always expressed how very proud she was of them. They were her “crown jewels”. Betsy and Robert started their family while living in San Jose with the births of two of three of their daughters in 1964 and 1966. In 1968, Betsy and her growing family moved to North Lafayette in 1968 due to Robert’s new job as a history professor at Diablo Valley College, where their third daughter was born in early 1969. After her youngest started kindergarten, Betsy returned to the work force in retail, working in the notions department at Bullock’s in Walnut Creek, CA. She eventually moved on to work in a small yarn/needlecraft shop in Lafayette which she bought in approximately 1981. By then, the family had moved to rural Martinez where they resided in the Alhambra Valley. Betsy’s passions for handwork, creating beautiful sweaters and crafts, designing and publishing many knitting patterns, and teaching her daughters and others was ignited during her ownership of her shop, Betsy’s Knit ‘N Stitch. In approximately the late 1990’s, Betsy retired and continued creating beautiful handmade items and took up quilting – her ultimate passion which she pursued until the day she died. Her keen eye for matching colors and patterns to create things of beauty was awe-inspiring. By 1998, Robert and Betsy had moved to their retirement home in Benicia, CA. Betsy joined the Carquinez Straits Stitchers Quilting Guild and participated in many quilt shows, quilting projects, and charity events. Betsy’s desire to help and teach others involved many philanthropic, political, and charity groups and causes throughout her life. She was a member of AAUW, supporting women’s rights and education through higher education. Betsy was a member and supporter of KQED for decades. More notably, she was integral as a manager for The Wilson Riles’ Campaign for Superintendent of California Public Education, who was ultimately elected in 1970 - the first African American in that position in the State of California. Betsy was instrumental in bringing Mr. Riles to speak to students and faculty at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. Betsy was also involved in the 1972 presidential campaign for George McGovern’s bid against President Richard Nixon. Betsy taught her daughters and grandchildren to see other’s soul and character for who they are, and not for or because of their skin tone. Additionally, Betsy was actively involved in the Kennedy-King Scholarship Fund at Diablo Valley College for many years which benefits, even today, disadvantaged minority students who are seeking higher education in college. Betsy loved to travel. After college, she travelled around the US with a good friend in a MG, and continued to travel at any chance throughout her life. Betsy’s passion for the Southwest, including Arizona and New Mexico, took her on many trips there in search of Native American art, history and culture. Betsy had always dreamed of seeing Alaska and went twice in the past two years. She was so in love with the Pacific Northwest and Alaska; thrilled beyond words to see Denali, Glacier Bay, and parts of the Yukon Territory. Her ultimate dream was to visit Scotland, home of her ancestors. Betsy’s hobbies and passions included quilting, knitting, handwork, gardening, collecting orchids and Native American artwork and pots, shopping, travelling, camping trips all over the West and ski trips to Tahoe with her family, hiking, reading, baking, antiquing, and playing games on her iPad. Most of all, she loved to spend as much time as possible with her family and spoiling her four grandchildren. Betsy is truly missed and will be missed forever by her family and friends. She had a beautiful smile to match her heart and soul. She was a lot of fun and truly enjoyed life; always up for a good laugh and adventure. Betsy had a unique way of bringing everyone into her heart because of her empathy and concern for others’ happiness, welfare, and dignity. She easily and often spoke her mind (her family jokingly stating she had lost her filter a long time ago!); her honesty and forthrightness a gift to those who loved and appreciated her. Betsy is survived by her devoted, loving husband of 57 years, Robert E. Trempy; daughters Kathleen Ann Trempy of Benicia, CA; Marlene Ann Trempy of Benicia CA; Lorraine Mary (Trempy) Nitto (William) of Fairfield, CA; her “adopted daughter”, Sonya (Herald) Stuart of Benicia, CA; grandchildren, Cameron Trempy (finance Samantha) of Blue Springs, MO; Jessica Riczo-Trempy (Austin) of Blue Springs, MO; Will Nitto and Alexis Nitto, both of Fairfield, CA; one great-grandchild (SJ) and another one on the way; and multiple nephews and nieces. Betsy was preceded in death by her older sister, Mary (Leavitt) Bush of Portland, Oregon; and her younger brother, Harry D. Leavitt of Seattle, WA. In keeping with Betsy’s passions for quilting and helping others, the family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made in her name to organizations which support those goals or the American Cancer Society. Betsy was interned on August 7, 2019, at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, CA. A Celebration of Life will be held on September 1, 2019, from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm in her daughter, Kathleen’s home located at 536 Buckeye Court, Benicia, CA 94510.
Elizabeth Ann “Betsy” (Leavitt) Trempy of Benicia, CA passed away at home in the loving arms of her family on July 15, 2019. Betsy was born to Mary Teresa (Drumheller) and Dr. Harry L. Leavitt on September 11, 1937, in Olympia,... View Obituary & Service Information
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