Betty Longstreet

Date of Birth

March 29, 1926

Date of Death

December 11, 2020

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Betty was born in New York City, but first came to Santa Barbara as an infant, visiting the home of her uncle, Bernhard Hoffmann.

After adventures in Italy and England, at the age of five, she would return to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to spend her childhood. Here she developed her famous love of walking, free and unfettered, across the still wild countryside.

She would attend Bryn Mawr College, and go on to work at Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory.

The Second World War brought her family to Colorado, where she would meet Orman Longstreet; they would marry five years later in New York City.

The new Longstreets would return to Hollywood, and have four children; Richard, Donn, Scott and Holly.

She had a love of camping. Over the years there would be many family trips to most of the Western United States. In later years she would travel on her own, car camping and visiting, from the Southwest up to Canada.

In the 1950’s and 60’s she would work for the National Association for Better Broadcasting in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to alert America to the effects of violence in mass media. Sadly, the world we see today is proof of what she fought for.

She was a pioneer of early childhood education, becoming one of the first directors in Project Head Start. Her commitment led her to the choice of South Central Los Angeles, in the momentous year of 1965. Her schools were at the center of the fight in Watts that year. Her true love and caring for all children left a legacy that cannot be measured.

She would spend the next part of her working life as an executive secretary at banks in Denver and Santa Barbara.
When retirement came, she was able to follow her love of nature by becoming a docent at the Santa Barbara Zoo. She would be able to share that love with thousands over the years she was there. Many still remember her as “The Lady with the Elephant Cart.”
She loved music, and from her support of many bands and musicians she would come to be known as the “Godmother of Santa Barbara Music”.

Betty’s life was her celebration, and she lives on in the hearts of every life she touched. She also lives on in her children, her grandchildren: Sarah, Beck, Ian, Caitlin, Emily, and Zack, and her great grandchildren: Phineas, Vera, Alma, Austin, Finley, Cooper, and Sullivan (and one not yet born).

“Love your friends, love the music, and never be afraid to walk barefoot in the rain.”


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