Bettie Lennon was born Elizabeth Jane Sheridan at Cottage Hospital on March 21, 1923. Bettie came from a long line of old Santa Barbara and Ventura County families. Her mother was Mary Elizabeth (Maisie) Lamb Sheridan of Santa Barbara and her father was J. Neill Sheridan of Ventura. Bettie left this world surrounded by family on August 29, 2019.
Bettie lived in Santa Barbara all her life in a 6 block radius close to the Santa Barbara Mission. She went to Santa Barbara High School, as did her mother and grandmother, Mary (Mae) Eells Lamb. Bettie attended Santa Barbara State College until WWII, when she lost her pilot fiancée in the war. She then worked as a “Rosie” riveter and driller at Lockheed Vega building the main wings for P38 Lightning and PBY planes. She often regaled her family with her stories of helping Pearl Chase as junior hostess at weekly Officer Tea Dances at the Coral Casino for the officers stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Goleta. These young pilots were leaving for the Pacific Theater and rarely returned alive. She especially remembered the Black Sheep Squadron as a group of young men who attended these dances.
Following the war, Bettie worked as a check signature verifier at First National Bank. Women were not allowed to be tellers at that time, so the women worked behind the scenes. It was there she met a new teller named Patrick Lennon, who was freshly returned from the war. After a 6 month romance, Bettie and Pat were married at the Santa Barbara Mission in June, 1948. Pat went to work for the Sheriff’s Office and Bettie was a happy homemaker. She raised their four children: Patrick Jr (Christina), Mary (Brad Shepard), Susanne (David Newswanger), and Lisa (David Irwin).
Bettie was left raising her children alone when Pat died after an extended illness in 1965. She then took a job at the County Assessor’s Office, where she worked for 25 years. After retiring in 1991, she took care of her aging mother until her death at 103 in 1998. Bettie continued meeting with her friends, the Assessor’s retirement group, until a few months ago. She was blessed to live in the same house since 1950 in a wonderful extended family home with Lisa and Dave and their girls until the day of her passing.
Bettie was preceded in death by her husband, Pat, and by her beloved sister Mary Virginia Knowles (Tada), as well as her parents. She is survived by her four children and her grandchildren: Erin Lennon (Sophia), Sheridan and Katie Irwin, Ben and Madison Shepard, Sarah, Paul, and Carolyn Newswanger, and two step grandsons, Christopher and Frank (Becca) Noriega and great granddaughter Marisabel. Bettie lives on in the hearts of her family, and will always be remembered for her sunny personality and her open heart. She was loved by the neighborhood children, and enjoyed by everyone she met.
A Celebration of Life is planned on October 19, 2019 at 1 to 4 pm at the Masonic Center, 16 E Carrillo Street in Santa Barbara. Memorial donations made be in Bettie’s name to Visiting Nurse and Hospice of SB.