Bette Mae Evans was the second youngest of five children born to Edgar and Clara Evans May 1, 1921 on a small farm near Oklahoma City. Bette grew up picking berries on the family farm and rode a horse to school as a young girl, eventually graduating from Putnam City High School.
After two years at Central State College she attended Pennsylvania State University, earning a BA in mathematics. Thereafter she worked in aircraft engineering at the Curtis Wright Company in Buffalo, N.Y., where she met Ward Dennis, an aeronautical engineer. They married in 1948.
Bette learned to ski in New York and Ward introduced her to golf – two sports that became lifelong passions. They made their first home in Maryland where Ward taught aeronautical engineering at Annapolis. Their first child, Karen Christine, was born in 1950. In 1951 Ward accepted a position at Rand Corporation in California and they moved to Los Angeles. Their son, Patrick Ward, was born in 1952.
Bette was an active member in Southern California golf clubs over the ensuing five decades – Palos Verdes, Fox Hills, Los Robles, and Pala Mesa. She competed regularly and won many trophies and accolades, but mostly simply enjoyed being outdoors on the links with friends.
She and Ward also pursued their passion for skiing, owning a cabin at Mammoth Mountain from the late 1960s to mid-1970s and acquiring a condominium at Snowmass, Colo. when the resort was first developed in the early 1960s. After Ward retired from Northrop Grumman in 1984, they spent winters skiing in Snowmass and summers golfing at Pala Mesa. After Ward’s passing in 1994, Bette continued to ski and golf into her early 90s.
Bette was a wonderful mother, first raising Karen and Patrick, then helping to raise and inspire their eight children and, later, Bette’s 11 great-grandchildren. She had an enduring commitment to education encouraging all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to focus on their studies and attend college. Bette volunteered as a tutor for children in mathematics well into her 80s. She maintained a lifelong commitment to her Presbyterian faith and was an active member of her local church.
Bette spent the final two years of her life in Sherman Oaks with friends, family and new acquaintances. She was lovingly cared for by Nancy, Patrick’s wife, and continued to bring her faith, joy and friendship to those around her and delighted in reliving days on the slopes and links.
She is survived by Karen (Mario Rodriguez) and Patrick (Nancy); grandchildren Leeann Vargas, Kimberly Gonzalez, Ed De La Llave, Juanita De La Llave Sayo, Danielle Murrillo, Lauren Uhl, Chelsea Uhl and Claire Dennis, as well as 11 great-grandchildren, all of whom will keep her in their hearts forever.