Bettine Kinney Wallin

Date of Birth

May 14, 1936

Date of Death

June 5, 2010

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Bettine Kinney Wallin passes away at 74; educator, activist, philanthropist and Renaissance Pleasure Faire pioneer, her public-spirited life enriched Santa Barbara and all who knew her.

Singer, dancer, patron of the arts, beloved wife, mother, friend and teacher Bettine Wallin passed away June 5, 2010, after a long and valiant battle against breast cancer.

She was born Bettine Celia Kinney on May 14, 1936, in Beijing (then Peking) China, the daughter of American missionaries who had come to China to teach English at the mission school.

From the beginning, music was food for her soul.

Raised mainly in Los Angeles, she began to share her musical gifts while still attending Manual Arts High School, teaching classes in ear training and music theory to senior citizens as well as the high school harmony class. After graduation in 1954, she became an accredited piano teacher.

She pursued a liberal arts music major at Pomona College for 2 years, then transferred to Barnard College in New York City, graduating with a B.A. in Music Education in 1958.

While in New York Bettine married and gave birth to her first child. Returning to Los Angeles in 1961, she joined the small staff of a Laurel Canyon neighborhood nursery school cooperative. She earned her Elementary School California Teaching Credential at Long Beach State College and UCLA in February of 1966.

In 1963 schoolteacher Phyllis Patterson asked Bettine to help with the first Renaissance Pleasure Faire. During the next five seasons, Bettine was the Faire’s entertainment coordinator, stage manager and talent recruiter. She also helped design the grand pageants and the many stage and “spontaneous” performances.

At 30 she met her life partner, painter and sculptor Lawrence Wallin. They married in October of 1968. In their 42 years together, she was his muse and one of his favorite models.

Her special heart for children with learning, emotional and developmental problems and her extraordinary teaching abilities came together when, from 1968 through 1980, she was a master teacher, educational therapist and tutor at the Dubnoff Center for Child Development and Educational Therapy, From 1980 to 1982 she was director of Dubnoff’s Tutorial Services.

At Dubnoff, Bettine designed special educational materials and curricula that enabled individuals to reach their full potential and integrate into the wider culture. Over the decades many of her students credited her with transforming their lives.

Bettine and Lawrence moved to Santa Barbara in 1987. Bettine cultivated a spectacular garden and joined the docents at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, leading tours of the garden, bringing outreach programs to the public schools, and working in committees designing and developing teacher materials, training curricula and outreach programs.
Bettine always made time for private piano students. A long-time board member of the Santa Barbara branch of the California Music Teacher Association, she continued her Music Ed. education, also becoming a board member of the Orff-Schulwerk organization and earning the Orff-Schulwerk certification.

Associate director of the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus from 1993-2000, she trained children ages 7 to 10 to become choir members, both as vocalists and musicians. From 2000 to2009, she was the vocal coach for the children’s opera choir at the Grand Lake Montessori Opera Camp in Oakland. During performances she could be seen discretely cueing the kids from the front row of the audience.

Bettine sang with the Santa Barbara Choral Society and also with an informal group of friends. She and Lawrence danced every Sunday evening at the Santa Barbara Country Dance Society dances, where Bettine was also a board member.

She is survived by her husband Lawrence Wallin, her daughter Alizon Ossman Harris, her brother Malcolm Kinney, her sister Grace Hart as well as four nieces, three nephews, and four grandchildren. Her son Devin Ossman passed away in 2008.

She spent a lifetime sharing her love of music and the arts. By example, she taught those who knew her how to live a full, active and meaningful existence.

Bettine loved life. She was a wonderful, kind, beautiful, spunky and very special woman. She will be sorely missed.


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