Elizabeth “Betty” Eggen (Bensinger) was born on July 15, 1925, in Wilmington, Delaware. Betty met her husband, Merle, in 1944. He was an Iowa farm boy in the Navy during World War II. She was on a five-hour break between shifts as a telephone operator. Opposites attracted and they got married 20 days later. In 1955 Merle was offered a job at United Airlines in San Francisco. “If you’re going, I’m going,” Betty said. They sold everything, except the kids, and moved to California. Pedro Valley, over the hill from the airport, was the perfect place for their new home on Linda Mar Blvd.
Betty and Merle became founding members of Holy Cross Church. Pedro Valley became part of Pacifica. Betty loved to cook. She made seven loaves of bread every week, canned jam in the summer, brought pies to every potluck, and sewed a lot of the family’s clothes. Many new friends were invited for Sunday supper. Betty loved to sing and dance. She and Merle sang in the choir and square danced with local clubs. The kids got older and Betty returned to work as a telephone operator. Thanks to Merle’s job at United Airlines, they traveled every year to visit family in Iowa and on the East Coast. They even traveled to ancestral homes in Scandinavia and renewed bonds with distant cousins.
When it came time to retire, they bought 20 acres of forest in the Sierra Nevada foothills and moved there. Their grandchildren loved it, swimming in the summer and snow in the winter. Betty and Merle met kindred souls and founded Brownsville Lutheran Church. They sang in the choir and square danced with new friends. Pacifica beckoned again as they grew too old to cut firewood and can peaches. Betty and Merle moved to 555 Crespi Dr. and lived there together until Merle’s death at age 91 in 2014. In 2018 Betty moved in with her daughter Ann and Clinton in Chico. She moved back to the Bay Area to a nursing hospital last September. Betty fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 11, 2021, at age 96, close to the family she loved.
Being an only child, Betty always wanted a big family. She is survived by her son Art Eggen (Ellen) of Pacifica, daughter Ann Eggen (Clinton) of Chico, and daughter Eleanor Lindgren of Berkeley. Her 13 grandchildren include Christine Semenza (Gene), Julia Hall (John) of Pacifica, Jim Laughlin III (Diane), Sarah Eggen-Thornhill (Greg), Irving Milbury (Laura), Emily Roberts, Ashly Milbury, Esten Lindgren, Tim Eggen (Elaine) of Pacifica, Esther Swafford (Travis), Merle Eggen, Colleen Milbury, and Brendan Eggen, along with 15 great-grandchildren. Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1165 Seville Dr. in Pacifica. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Holy Cross Lutheran Church.