Elizabeth Jane Blalock, nee Speik, was born Oct. 12, 1923 in Pasadena, CA. Her father, a surgeon to the Hollywood elite, and her mother, a college graduate (rare in those days for a woman), provided an idyllic childhood for their five children. Betty, as she was better known, was the fourth child and youngest daughter of the Speik family.
Graduating high school as a valedictorian at the age of 17 in June 1941, Betty earned a competitive scholarship to Pomona College. In her valedictorian speech, she talked of youth’s willingness to shoulder future burdens of the world and lauded the habits of being kindly, helpful, and tolerant. Family life, economic security, care of the old and young, the handicapped, rehabilitation of the unfortunate, good housing, and education “are some of the things which youth of today will carry on tomorrow.”
Betty went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Pomona College, graduating in August 1944. She immediately joined the Navy WAVES for World War II service as a Link trainer operator, teaching pilots to fly with the early Link simulators. She left active service in 1946 and was honorably discharged in 1948.
After the War, Betty moved to Hawaii and became a kindergarten teacher in Hilo. She married in 1950, had three children and subsequently divorced in 1957. After the divorce, she took some classes to update her Special Education knowledge and became a foster mother for emotionally disturbed and handicapped children. In this way she was able to stay at home with her children, instead of getting an outside job. She ran The Marina Home for Exceptional Children in San Francisco until 1971 and the Blalock Home in Cupertino until 1980.
Betty’s main hobby was dogs, in particular Whippets, and any activity associated with them. She and her three children participated in most aspects of the dog hobbyist world via obedience training, racing, lure coursing, confirmation showing, and tracking. Betty was record keeper and statistician for the NCWFA and ASFA organizations.
In 1988 Betty went back to being a teacher, working at day care centers with infants and toddlers; she retired in 2000.
Betty’s high school valedictorian speech was a sign-post to her years of service with children. She cared for the handicapped and the young to the best of her abilities for most of her adult life.