Betty Chappell died peacefully with the comfort of family at her daughter's home in Somis on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, just days before her 93rd birthday. Her life is a story of initiative, joy, challenges, and hope.
Betty Jean Allgaier was born in Gower, Missouri on September 28, 1926 to Michael Sebastian and Marguerite Allgaier. Raised on a farm and educated in a one-room schoolhouse, Betty walked or rode a horse to school for her first eight years. She graduated from Gower High School in 1943. As a young woman, she loved weekend dances, where she was swept off her feet by her husband of 62 years, Joseph Robert Stew-art Chappell. (His friends called him "Joe" but she called him "Sturt" or just "Dad.") In 1942, at age 15, she eloped to Smithville Missouri, and started a legacy of love and devotion, taking the esteemed titles of wife and mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. Betty and Joe moved from St. Joseph, Missouri to California in 1955 with their four children, Nancy, Bob, Patti, and Michele.
Betty started a 28-year career with the Navy at Port Hueneme and later the Fleet Analysis Center in Norco. While the Administrative Officer for the Fleet Analysis Center, she was instrumental in establishing and leading the Federal Women's Program for equal opportunity in the workplace. After her career with the Navy, Betty spent the next twelve years as head of the reprographics organization for DynCorp in support of the U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile program finally retiring in 1995. She earned her Associate of Science degree from Chaffey College at the age of 54 after years of night school. Several of her children and grandchildren attended her graduation with great pride.
While working full time, Betty pursued many hobbies, including needlework and gardening. She was a long-time member of the American Saddlebred Horse Association in the Norco-Corona area, where she and Joe made many close friends. Her grandchildren enjoyed backyard rides on their ornery pony named 7-Up.
Upon retirement, Betty and Joe moved to Camarillo. Always active, Betty volunteered for twelve years at the St. John's Hospital Gift Shop, joined Padre Serra Parish bereavement ministry, and made many friends in her neighborhood and community. When macular degeneration obscured her vision, she remained an astute observer, always intimately engaged in the lives of her large, extended family and informed about local and world events. She possessed a worldliness beyond the scope of her limited travels, which made her an interesting conversationalist. And she was chatty! When shortness of breath slowed her down, she seldom said, "No" to an invitation, just "Give me a minute." Betty enjoyed life's simple pleasures: hot coffee, shopping, cold beer and a slice of Topper's Pizza. She was extravagant with her gift of time and forgiveness, known for the no-matter-whatness of her love. She took a pragmatic approach to life's challenges, emerging always to a place of reconciliation and hope. Ultimately, it's that hope that led her home, fearless and faithful.
Betty is survived by her children Nancy Borchard (John), Bob, Patti Gedman (David), and Michele Poblano (Phil), her sisters-in-law Frances Green (John), Phyllis Dixon and Carol Noel, 21 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husband Stewart "Joe," her son Jimmy, her grandsons Michael Jon and Nathan, and her siblings Howard, Bill, Bobby, John, Joe and Mary Grace.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, September 27 at Griffin Family Funeral Chapels, 1075 E. Daily Dr., Camarillo. Rosary will begin at 7:00 PM. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 28 at Padre Serra Parish, 5205 Upland Rd., Camarillo. Interment will follow at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park, Camarillo.
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