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Sammie Elizabeth "Bette" Balbo
December 1921 ~ December 2012
Balbo Bette 1

Amazing wife, mother & grandmother, Bette was called home to be with her beloved Lord Jesus on December 5, 2012. She spent her entire life praising, loving & being of service to Christ, never questioning her deep faith & love.

Bette was born in rural Coffee County, TN on December 10, 1921. She & her younger sister, Martha Lee, grew up during the Depression. It was hard without their Dad's presence, but they were very close to their Mama & spent hours together singing praises to Jesus. She told many wonderful stories of the Southern Way of Life, which we begged her to repeat over & over again. Mom went to high school in Riverside, CA & soon after graduation got a Civil Service job at Camp Campon in Southern CA. There she met her future husband, Colonel Frank Balbo. One of Bette's most cherished memories was becoming "Miss Campon" in 1941.


When Dad returned after 4 years on the European Front in late 1945, they were married. Exactly one year later their first child Rissa Luann was born & 3 1/2 years later a son, Frank Balbo III.

Bette was a stay-at home Mom, but she never stayed at home for long. Mom was always on the go, planning great excursions & lessons, Girl Scout & Boy Scout Leaders, head of PTA, & constant volunteer to any community organization that had need. After moving to Turlock in 1964, Bette continued her volunteer work with Newcomers Club, Women's Federated Club, several local churches & other organizations. When son Frank went on to Stanislaus State, Mom joined him receiving her BA in 1971. She was a wonderful artist & writer.

 They say that if you want to know how a person lives their life look in their checkbook.  Bette's checkbooks were literally filled page after page with entries to 501c3's. She gave & gave all her life of her energy & her money to help others.

 Bette is preceded in death by her beloved mother, Florence & her mate of 50 years, Frank C. Balbo, Jr. Survivors include her sister Martha Lee Russell; daughter Rissa Luann Borgen & son Frank C. Balbo III; her beloved grandchildren Gabriel M. Warner & Gemma E. Martin; & many nieces, nephews & cousins.

 Special thanks go to Emanuel Hospice & Community Hospice. Extra special thanks go to Jodi Kohlenhoefer , who was Bette's constant companion & helper since 2009. With Jodi's selfless service, Bette was able to overcome many obstacles & was filled with love & light all the rest of her days. Jodi, you are a true angel!

Mom, we miss you very much. Thank you for being such a wonderful wife, mother, friend & selfless servant to the Lord. You devoted your life to helping others. May you sit at the right hand of God among the beautiful angels who sing your praises.

There will be no services.  Allen Mortuary is entrusted with her arrangements.  Bette will be interred with her beloved husband at Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland, CA. Please send remembrances to Hospice of Emanuel, PO Box 819005, Turlock, CA 96381 or Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95350. Please share your memories and condolences at