1926 – 2014
Betty Jo Rivers was born in Los Angeles to Fred and Dorothy Robirds. She earned a master’s degree in English from UC Berkeley in 1949, after which she sailed to France as a Fulbright Scholar. Betty found Paris full of musicians, writers and artists, including American artist Haywood Bill Rivers, whom she married. In later years she recalled the poverty, beauty and happiness of their life in France.
In 1954, Betty became a copy editor for Sports Illustrated in New York. Betty moved with her children to Big Sur in 1959. The landscape inspired her to write poetry, hike the rugged trails and learn about the California Indians.
Betty briefly married professor Donald Anderson in 1964. She soon returned to the beauty of Big Sur.
In 1976, Betty moved to Davis as an archaeologist for the state of California. Among many other projects, she spent years on the restoration of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.
In 2012, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance’s celebration of 9,948 preserved acres honored Betty’s and a co-worker’s critical research on the Salinan Indians’ ties to the land. For a career that held her heart so long, this was a perfect moment.
Betty is survived by four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her family thanks her many friends who enjoyed tea and lively conversation with their beloved Betty.
Betty declined a funeral. Donations may be made to: Doctors Without Borders or to the Davis chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.