- About Us
When Death Occurs
- About Us
When Death Occurs
The Duggan tradition of excellence in funeral service since 1889.
Our beautiful, funny, stylish and amazing Mother, Betty Ann Bourg, crossed over in the wee hours of April 19, 2018, in the company of her daughters, and after a sudden onset illness. The previous day was spent in the constant and loving company of a stream of family and friends, who, in responding to our notice of urgency, came to pay their respects and help us cope. A last-minute call for a visitation resulted in beautiful singing from Kathy and Barbara from the Threshold choir. Their singing brought us the miracle and healing of music and catharsis during a very difficult time.
Our hearts ache at her passing and we miss her daily contact already.
Betty was born in Kenesaw, Nebraska, on May 17, 1932 to Cecil M. And Letha Belle Peter Tinder. Their town surrounded by corn fields and churches, Betty’s dad raised turkeys, "Tinder’s Tender Turkeys", to be precise, and had a small store to sell them from.
Betty’s mother kept the home fires burning. Mom was the oldest of four girls, and a brother who died at infancy. The 3 oldest girls were often dressed in matching homemade dresses and made to sing for company, such as Betty’s mother’s tea ladies from church. This, we suspect, led Mom to tap into her cantankerous side.....
If I could only remember all the details of the time she ‘borrowed’ the preacher’s old pickup truck without his knowledge, driving it though town well before she was old enough to have a license, and with her younger sisters packed into the bench seat!!
The era’s local dances were held on weekends in larger nearby towns, enjoying touring bands like Glen Miller, and this is where she met her husband Richard. He was an “older man”, 8 years her senior, and they fell madly in love, marrying soon after.
Betty and Rich moved to Hastings, Nebraska, where she worked at the Hastings Tribune as her first job, always speaking of that job and experience fondly.
Following Betty’s parents and sisters to California in 1953, she and Rich settled in Sonoma. Daughter Joanie was born first, and then daughter Kelly came along right as Rich got the foreman’s job on the Poehlmann chicken ranch, thereby earning them a spot living in the historical Carriger mansion on Carriger road. The ranch had very special grounds, barns and gorgeous hillside location. It was purchased from General Vallejo in the late 1800s by Nicholas Carriger, who came to California in company of the infamous Donner party, until they split off from that group to take a different and fortuitous route!
Our family lived and worked on the ranch for 9 very special years. Mom had secured a job at what was then called Sonoma State Hospital, now Sonoma Developmental Center, where she honed her medical secretary skills, a vocation she kept for the remainder of her working life, and where she made many lifelong acquaintances.
Mom was a good singer, and maintained her musicality by also playing the piano, serenading us on the old upright with many renditions of current popular music, “September Song” and “Blue Moon” being among her favorites. She enjoyed watching a good film, tended roses, studied astrology, and loved traveling to Mexico with her work girlfriends, some of whom she kept in contact with the rest of her life.
Mom was a self-proclaimed “dough child” – a self-coined term of carbohydrate endearment, referring to the Midwestern custom and treat of warm cornbread in a glass of cold milk, or homemade biscuits and gravy, maple glazed donuts, or peach pie a la mode. She and Dad loved going to the Sonoma Grove when we were kids, enjoying a good meal and an evening of dancing. They were well known in many restaurants around town in their later years, making caring friends with many of the staff as they enjoyed their retirement and ease. Rich passed in 2010, but Mom continued to go out, enjoying her community of restaurant friends for many years afterwards.
While many people can list well-deserved accomplishments in their life, committees, hobbies, or higher learning, Mom’s contributions are more uniquely personal.
Mom was simply and consistently, wonderfully cheerful and kind.
Always a smile on her face for those she met, and always a kind word or deed to be had. She took after her mother, Letha, in this regard.
Among her gifts was her sense of humor, which, to our delight, often came out of the blue! She was caring and interested.
She was a good listener, which is a real talent.
She loved a good greeting card. Both sending and receiving.
She loved listening to music, and her daily crossword puzzles. She would “work the Jumble” daily, unscramble words and get the final clue!
She was good with words and enjoyed using them artfully.
And she was a snappy dresser!!!! Having a keen eye for simple elegance at every occasion.
She had a very special quality that was hard to define, but easy to love.
Betty is survived by her daughters, Joanie and Kelly, and their beloveds, Lisa and Paige. Mom's sister Dorothy Thorsen preceded her in death by just a few months, and she is very much missed. She also leaves behind her younger sisters: June Brock of Los Gatos, CA, and Joetta Bunter of Napa, CA. Mom enjoyed family visits and parties and hearing all about her many nieces, nephews and their children. Mom freely adopted and loved Lisa’s children, Tara (and her husband Eli), Austen and Niko, as her grandchildren, and they returned that fondness.
We as a family want to thank the good souls at Brookdale Senior Living in Sonoma for being there for Mom (and family) during her last months. Also, many thanks to the numerous Nurses and Doctors at Sonoma Valley Hospital for their extra mile in her care.
Betty will be buried in Tulocay Cemetery in Napa, Duggan’s Mission Sonoma having made her arrangements.
A Celebration of Life will follow on Saturday, May 5th from 1-4 p.m. at the Maysonnave House, 291 First Street East, Sonoma, CA. For details of the location of the Maysonnave House, please view the website: http://sonomaleague.org/historic-maysonnave-house-sonoma.html
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