John 11:25-26 Jesus told her, I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe in this?
Our mom Betty did, so very much.
Betty Jean Browning was born January 13th, 1941 to Claude and Dorothy Browning in San Bernardino, California. Betty grew up in Delhi, California surrounded by a Christian family that was an example on how she would live her life and raise her family . In Betty’s early years as a child, she was referred to as Miss Betsy by her beloved father Claude and Sugie by her mother Dorothy. Betty had fond memories as a girl of riding her bike, climbing trees, raising chickens and goats and having several girlfriends to spend summer days with. In addition to being able to watch TV for the first time, seeing movies at the local theater was a favorite pastime as a young girl.
Betty went to local schools in Delhi and graduated from Livingston High school in1959, wearing a white dress and carrying flowers. Betty was 18. Following graduation, with the encouragement of her father, Betty enrolled at Modesto Junior College. Betty thought that Modesto Jr. College was going to be just the beginning of an education, until Ken Rockholt came rolling up in his ‘56 Black Chevy Convertible. This was the beginning of a 62 year life journey with Ken.
On April 9th 1960, Betty went on her first date with Ken to the Merced Theater and afterward to the popular Vernon’s Drive In for drive-in service in that 56 Chevy. This date led to Betty's first kiss from Ken. Both Ken and Betty continued at MJC until their marriage in October of 1960, in a little white church in Delhi that was officiated by Betty’s grandfather, Walter Browning. Betty was so happy to have Aunt Marcella Browning in her life, and to have her help in planning her wedding. Even though Marcella was 13 years older, Betty always looked up to Marcella as a big sister. Marcella and her husband Glen were the photographers for Betty's wedding.
One of Betty’s regrets was not finishing college. Ken and Betty were newlyweds at the time, and Betty was more interested in being a wife, and eventually becoming a mother. Betty wanted to have her dream of having a husband and children, and to have a home to take care of. Betty always believed that she made the right choice.
In March 1962, Betty gave birth to Brian, and in August of 1968 to Charles. Betty would say that giving birth was her proudest accomplishment. Betty enjoyed her time in the home on 9th Avenue, in Merced, raising her family, having birthday parties, and making neighborhood friends. Having family holidays on 9th Avenue and later in her dream home on Wooddale Avenue were some of Betty's favorite times. Having her brother Lee and sister-in- law Janet, brother-in-law Ron and sister-in-law Diana, brother-in-law Norman and sister-in-law Suzanne, parents Dorothy & Claude, father-in law Raymond and mother-in -law Lyllis, and nieces and nephews make it extra special. In time, those holidays grew to include daughter-in-law Dianne and her grandsons Erik & Gregory.
Betty worked for several companies in Merced, including JCPenney, Boise Cascade, and the Insurance Center/ Interwest, which by far was her favorite. Betty later retired from Interwest.
In 1983, Betty became a mother- in- law to Dianne, Brian’s wife, and later on in 1986,became a grandmother with the birth of her first grandchild Erik and the second grandchild Gregory in 1987. When asked about the most important role as a mother and grandmother, Betty said, ”To love and cherish your children, teach them right from wrong and give them a Christian upbringing.”
Betty was a member of two churches in Merced. Valley Baptist Church, where she brought her children and later on at Christian Life Center, where she and Ken spent the later years of their lives . Betty was so happy with the friends that she shared her life with. She would say in reference to friendships, “ One of God’s greatest gifts to me. Nothing like being with women that I have so much in common with”.
Betty and Ken enjoyed their retirement years on Woodale Avenue. Betty also enjoyed her trips to Monterey with Ken, girlfriend trips around the valley and several trips back east for visits to Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and a lovely trip to Paris. Ken and Betty enjoyed multiple trips to visit Newport, Oregon where Brian and his family lived. Ken & Betty celebrated many of Erik & Greg’s life events such as baseball games and high school graduations. Even though they were far away in miles, Betty and Ken were close to their grandsons.
Betty was very thankful for the life she had. From the time she was born till now, she had an appreciation for her family and friends. Asked about one of the things that she was given Betty would say ” Brian and Charles. You are both devoted sons that show so much love for me. I'm so happy to be your mom.”
When asked if she believed in love at first sight, Betty said, “ Yes, with your dad. It was a wonderful feeling, like I was aglow.”
Betty is survived by her son Charles, son Brian ( Dianne), Brother Lee ( Janet) brother- in-law Norman ( Suzanne) brother- in-law Ron, grandson Erik ( Lauren) , grandson Gregory ( Jessica), several nieces and nephews, and many friends from church.
In honor of Betty, please consider sharing some of her wisdom with your family and friends
“I believe happiness comes from within us. I have a strong faith in God. I start most days with quiet time with Him. My family and friends bring me the most happiness” -Betty
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