Elizabeth Grace Pauline Bohanon Herr
2 January 1925 -- 14 March 2004
Elizabeth Grace Pauline Bohanon Herr, known affectionately as Betty, was the eldest of two daughters of Alice (Wopschall) and Harvey Bohanon. She was born at the Pasadena Hospital (now Huntington Memorial) in Pasadena, California on 2 January 1925, and liked to tell how her father went to a Rose Bowl game with his parents the day before she was born. Harvey was a Stanford alumnus, and they won the game, but Alice was a bit upset that she was left alone in her advanced pregnancy. When she was 3 years old, she became the big sister to Josephine Alice. Betty lived her entire life in Pasadena and Altadena, except for an early year in Riverside and a year on Staten Island during the war.
Betty was baptized in the Lutheran church of her maternal grandparents. She started attending Sunday School at Westminster Presbyterian church at the age of five but, when her father became a Christian, the family then attended the German Methodist Church together, where they stayed until Betty was 17, when she returned to Westminster, where she remained an active member for the rest of her life.
A beautiful and energetic young woman, Betty supported the war effort by volunteering at the Pasadena Hospitality House. One enchanted evening (11 October 1943), across a crowded room, she caught the eye of a tall and handsome young soldier. Soon they were dancing together. It was love at first sight, and the young soldier from New York became a regular visitor in the Bohanon household. His name was Herbert Paul Reinhold Herr. Too soon, Herb was transferred to Signal Corps Training Center at Camp Crowder, Missouri. A passionate correspondence followed, and Herb called Betty on Valentines Day 1944 to propose. He sent Harvey the ring to place on her finger on Easter Sunday. Getting married during war time was not easy.
Betty and her mother took a troop train to Missouri (Harvey couldn’t be spared from his war job), and Herb’s parents and sister Gretchen came from New York, his mother carrying the wedding cake on her lap the whole way. The wedding took place in the army chapel on May 6, with Gretchen being the maid of honor and an inebriated army chaplain performing the ceremony. Thus started a long, faithful, and fruitful marriage of nearly sixty years.
The honeymoon was brief. On 25 July 1944 Herb was shipped overseas on the SS George Washington. He was in Normandy by the end of August, and later went through Belgium and Holland before advancing to the Rhine and entering Germany. Meanwhile, Betty went to live with Herb’s parents on Staten Island. After a year of eastern weather, she and Herb determined that California would be a better place to live, so Betty returned to Pasadena and set up housekeeping in a small house behind her parents’ home. It was there that they spent their first months together after Herb returned from the war on 20 April 1946.
Land was purchased on the west side of Altadena, and Herb and Betty built their new home, 3218 Crestford Drive. Soon the pitter patter of little feet graced the Herr household, with the arrival of Chris, Lynn, Paul and Norman. Betty was a devoted wife and mother, and created a warm and nurturing environment. The Herr residence quickly became the place where most of the neighborhood kids hung out. Seldom was there a day when the back yard didn’t have a slew of kids playing in it. Betty was the wonderful example of the woman described in Proverbs 31: “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life…Her children rise up and bless her, her husband also, and he praises her.” During these years Betty and Herb became increasingly active in their church and in the service of their Lord and Savior. Betty and Herb practiced the admonition in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. “ Their greatest desire was to see their children grow up loving the Lord and serving Him. Betty taught Sunday School and Bible Studies and she and Herb held many leadership roles in their couples group,
the Clipper Club, which is active to this day. Betty was also involved in her children’s Campfire Girls and Boy Scouts groups and there were many happy hours spent with crafts, camping, and community activities. In 1959 the family moved to 1016 E Mariposa on the east side of Altadena and Betty enthusiastically dove into refurbishing a 1911 house and a yard that had seen great neglect. She loved gardening and flowers.
With a keen intellect, many interesting hobbies, and a love for children, Betty decided that teaching would be a good career for her. When all of the children were in school, and with her family’s support, she entered Cal State LA and after 5 years of diligent work obtained her teaching credential. She taught English, History and Social Studies at Elliot Jr High and at Blair and Marshall High Schools for nearly 20 years. Here Betty’s interest in American History, Herb’s photographic talents, and their mutual love of travel merged. Every summer they would take the family on a memorable trek to places of natural beauty and/or historic interest. Several of their trips were to Staten Island, the home of Herb's parents. Betty and Herb both had a deep desire to make sure that their children would know their “eastern” grandparents and family. After their 25th Wedding Anniversary, they started traveling overseas, eventually to 52 countries on six continents. The color slides which Herb took were used by Betty in her teaching of geography and history, as well as for numerous programs at church dinners, Clipper Club meetings and community groups.
Betty was a devoted grandmother to her six grandchildren. Her interest in history and civic work led her to join the DAR and the PEO and she enthusiastically participated in the many activities of these groups and others. She was especially interested in family history and worked for many years with her daughter Chris to compile a detailed history of her family.
They were involved with various Missions groups and often visited their church’s missions in various places. Betty’s sewing group at church made quilts and baby clothes and other items for distribution to these and other groups. Even though her eyesight failed and she became increasingly disabled with other infirmities, she continued to work with and support these groups as much as possible.
Betty had a long and fruitful life. Loved by Herb, her children and their families, and her many friends, she will be greatly missed. Surely, however, she is right now in heaven with her Lord, and probably asking Him many questions about some of the things not fully explained in the Holy Scriptures she so loved to read. And most assuredly she is enjoying and praising her God and Savior, as she did while she was here with us. Her final moments were spent in prayer and singing with her children, and now she is experiencing the pure joy of His presence and waiting for us to join her there. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
Betty is survived by her loving husband Herb, children Christine Elaine & George T Gentry, Anita Lynn Seymour, Paul Harvey & Janice (Clark) Herr, Norman Edward & Roberta (Beagles) Herr, and grandchildren: Michelle Marie Standora, Bonnie Lynn Standora, Scott Paul Herr, Christiana Alisa Herr, Stephen Edward Herr and John Robert Herr.