Blessings are something Betty Thurber can recount throughout her life. “The Lord blessed me with good parents, a good husband and family, “ Betty relates. Betty is the grandmother to two grandsons, four step-grandchildren, five great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. A 20-year member of RiverLakes Community Church, Betty has lived at Carriage House Estates for the past seven years. “Even though I am not able to attend in person anymore– RiverLakes is still my church,” Betty shares.
Betty was born in Georgia. Her family moved to Arizona because of her sister’s health and Betty attended the University of Arizona. It was there she met the love of her life, Harold Thurber. They were married at the beginning of World War II and Harold served in the Army. After his service was over, they moved to Arizona where Harold managed several ranches. Harold’s bad back required him to leave ranch management and he began working at the University of California as a farm advisor for the livestock programs. Their next move took them to Tejon Ranch where Harold worked for 25 years. Betty taught first grade while raising their three children.
In 1982, Harold retired and they moved to Grass Valley where they enjoyed watching their grandsons grow up. When their daughter’s family moved to the Bay Area in 1992, Harold and Betty moved to Bakersfield. Sadly, Harold passed away in 1994. “I am looking forward to getting to heaven, not only to see my Lord and Savior, but also to see my husband,” Betty shares.
Betty came to RiverLakes (then Fruitvale) in 1998. She was involved in many things: Senior Sack, communion preparation, Women’s Fellowship, bulletin preparation and folding team, and Cheerleaders. She was also there when the church started community groups. She belonged to a group that met on Monday afternoons. “It was a great group and helped those of us who didn’t want to drive at night.”
Today, living at Carriage House Estates, church comes to her. Betty has missed being able to come to church and is so grateful for the worship services offered. The third Sunday of the month, Milt Cole from RiverLakes brings a message to the group. “I so appreciate his coming. He always has something to help in our Christian walks.”
In 2016, Betty received another blessing. Emilie Crown, from RiverLakes, called her with an opportunity. Emilie was hoping to connect members who could no longer attend church with a student in junior high. The idea was that they could exchange letters. Betty has been corresponding with Braeden for the past year. “I had missed having young people around me and Braeden is a great letter writer,” Betty relates. Braeden, his mother and brother even came to visit her. This connection is one for which she is very grateful. “I think Braeden has enjoyed the communication, too,” said Betty.
The Lord has been her biggest blessing. “I talk to Him all the time,” Betty says. “The thing God has done for me is when the time comes to make any decision, He gets me there. He guides me. I know I can pray with assurance because in the end, it will be all right.”