Betty Louise Thresher was born in Hampden, MA on February 7, 1935. She departed this life April 4, 2022 at her home in Nipomo, peacefully, gracefully, and surrounded by the love of her family.
From childhood, Betty was a leader, trailblazer, and lifelong learner. In high school, she was chosen as the representative to Girl’s State and to host the state Governor at the Eastern States Exposition. She was a Worthy Advisor of Rainbow Girls. Betty graduated from Commerce High School in Springfield, MA in 1952 and later served as President of the Jaycettes.
On September 17, 1955, she married her forever love, Donald “Bud” Johnson in East Longmeadow, MA, where they settled and had three children before moving to California in 1970 for Bud’s work. Sixty-six years of marriage only added to the sparkle in their eyes and their love for impromptu dances.
Betty loved and served her family well, all while continuing to lead and learn. In 1984, at age 49, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cal Poly Pomona. She went on to work as a docent at the Huntington Library, receiving a scholarship to study the works of Charles Dickens at Cambridge University in England. Betty served the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO) for over 40 years. Her love for learning and teaching others was extraordinary and inspiring.
When the kids were grown, Bud and Betty began exploring the world. Seven trips with Road Scholar took them to Scandinavia, Italy, Hungary, Scotland, and more. But perhaps the most cherished destinations were grandkids’ Little League games and school plays. Whether down the street or hours away, Betty would be there, beside her beloved Bud, smiling proudly.
Betty was an accomplished artist, painting everything from soft landscapes to her three children. She was also, from age seven, a devoted member of her church choir.
Family was her greatest treasure. She delighted in gathering as many generations as she could under one roof. She was often telling stories of family ancestors or was behind the camera, capturing moments for the generations to come. She taught all just how important family is and, with Bud, built a strong foundation of love for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Betty is survived by her husband, Donald, three children, Jeff (Sharon) Johnson, Debbie Lee (Dennis) Marchiano, and Greg (Valerie) Johnson, 9 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren (with two on the way) and her sister Ruth (Wendell) Hockersmith.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Arroyo Grande United Methodist Church at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Arroyo Grande United Methodist Church Endowment Fund in honor of Betty.
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