Elizabeth Cochran Botts Kreitz

Elizabeth Cochran Botts Kreitz died July 9, 2014, with her son Bob and daughter-in-law Tina holding her hands. Grandma Betty was 93 years old and filled each of her days with joyful living.

Elizabeth was born Feb. 23, 1921, in Baltimore, the oldest child of Robert Thomas Botts and Sarah Tilgman Cochran Botts. Her brother, Robert, and sister Jane followed quickly. When she was six, her mother died.

Betty’s strong sense of family was formed then.

Betty graduated from Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Md. and after two years of college joined one of the first groups of women to enlist in the WAVES. She trained at Hunter College in New York City and U.S. Naval Training School, Indiana University. Her first orders were to the Naval Air Station (NAS), Alameda. That assignment would change her life.

She met a stunning, tall, blonde Ralph Kreitz at NAS. The two married in 1944 at St. Lawrence O’Toole in Oakland after a whirlwind romance. Their only child, Robert, was born in 1945. Their joy and Alameda family life was shattered when Ralph contracted polio in 1946, causing Betty to return to work at NAS in the Supply Department until her retirement in 1976. Betty was a woman of incredible strength and character. She supported Ralph as he lived with the effects of polio for 22 years and raised a remarkable son.

Friends were a central part of Betty’s life. The Stitch and Chatter Club met weekly for over 65 years. These eight women were the essence of compassionate, supportive, creative friends and were ahead of their time.

In retirement, Betty lived a life of travel and fun with her dear friends. Ireland, England, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii and numerous states were on her active itinerary. She shared many trips and activities with her dearest friend and soul mate, John Sheffield.

They danced, laughed and loved being with her grandchildren. Roberta Elizabeth, her namesake, Erin Christina and her husband Jack Shirey, Tyler Robert and his wife Carla Menchini received Betty’s unconditional love and great cooking. Great grandchildren Makenzie, Emerson, Finley Shirey and Ethan Kreitz brought joy and smiles to Grandma Betty in her last years.

A memorial mass and celebration of Elizabeth will be held Aug. 16, 1 p.m. at Newman Hall, Holy Spirit Chapel, Berkeley. Elizabeth enjoyed her garden and colorful flowers. The family requests you wear bright colors and do not send flowers.

Donations in Elizabeth’s honor can be made to: Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, CA 94501