Roy Perry Bethel, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend of many, passed away on Dec. 29, 2010 at the age of 84 from leukemia. Roy Bethel was a Turlock resident and community supporter for many years.
He was born in Atascadero, Calif. on July, 2 1926 to parents Perry and Edith Bethel. Roy grew up and attended Templeton schools. After high school, Roy enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve and became a Lieutenant J.G. in the V-5 program. During his tour of duty, Roy attended St. Mary's pre-flight school, Cornell University and Dennison University.
Following his tour of duty, Roy went on to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He spent the next four years at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento working as an aeronautical engineer.
Roy took a vocational change to farming and moved to Turlock in 1954 with his wife Betty to become a partner with his father in law, A.T. "Tony" Bettencourt, in the A.T.B. Packing Company. Roy spent the next 46 years as general manager and managing partner at A.T. B Packing Company. The company was a grower, packer, shipper, distributor and exporter of melons and diversified farming.
Always community minded, Roy served on the Turlock Elementary School Board and the Turlock City Planning Commission. He was on the board of directors for the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Town and Country Finance & Thrift, Lake Don Pedro Marina, Divine Gardens, and the Board of Governors California Council of Growers. Roy was a member of labor negotiations for melon shippers in California and Arizona; a member of the melon research advisory board for the State Marketing Order; a member of the Modesto Elks Club; and a member of Turlock Rotary Club for 45 years. He was also Chairman of the Development and Finance Committee of the Turlock Community Hospital Foundation.
Roy was a pillar to his community and a rock to his family. He loved to share his words of wisdom, and was always someone you could approach to ask for advice. He was as reliable as they come, and conducted business with a “golden handshake.” In his retirement Roy loved to travel the world with his wife Penny, play a game of golf, spend time with his grandchildren, and share his lap space with his cat Bella.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents; and Betty Bethel. Roy is survived by his wife of 26 years, Penelope Bethel; sister, Barbara Lewin (Bob) of Paso Robles; step-son, Dr. David Burke (Debbie) of Elk Grove; daughters, Donna Moore (Darrell) of Modesto and Nancy Pedersen (Garry) of Turlock; and son, Ken Bethel (Jennifer) of Turlock. He is also survived by eight grandchildren (Brendan Burke, Lindsey Burke, Natalie Moore, Brian Moore, Steven Pedersen, Andrew Pedersen, Lexy Bethel and Antonia Toomey); and nieces, Christy Youngdale (Todd) and Lori Alpert (Steve) of Templeton. He will be truly missed, loved and remembered for years to come.
Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6 at Turlock Memorial Park & Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock. The funeral will be held 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 7, also at Turlock Memorial Park & Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Turlock Memorial Park.
The family requests donations be made to Lucile Packard Children’s Fund: Leukemia Research, 400 Hamilton Ave. Ste. 340, Palo Alto, CA 94301 or Stanford Cancer Center, Stanford University Medical Center, 2700 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025.