Betty Pena: 1925 ~ 2015


Beatrice “Betty” Ann Gutierrez Peña, a lifelong resident of Woodlake, died peacefully in her sleep Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Visalia. She was 90. 

A viewing will be held on Monday, Dec. 21, from 3 to 6 p.m., with Rosary from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia. A Catholic Mass will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Visalia. A graveside service will immediately follow at Visalia District Cemetery (1300 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia).

Betty was born May 1, 1925, in Redbanks (just west of Woodlake) to Cleto and Jesus (Mesa) Gutierrez. Betty grew up on the Redbanks Ranch along with her four brothers, Phillip, Jim, Paul, and Steven Gutierrez, and sister Lena (Gutierrez) Renteria. 

All attended Woodlake schools. Betty met the love of her life, Mike C. Peña, at a school carnival in Woodlake. They were married on June 8, 1946, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Visalia. 

They settled in Woodlake, where Mike and Betty raised their seven children: David (Patsy), Benjamin (Rita), Catherine (Moises Garza), Loretta (Mike Padilla, deceased), Edmund (Robin), Raymond (Olga De la Torres), and Amanda (Louie Lopez, deceased).  

In 2006, Betty’s husband, Mike, preceded her in death. 

Betty worked for a packinghouse in the Woodlake area for many years before becoming a full-time housewife and caregiver to her children and, later, to her 20 grandchildren, whom she showered with love and affection.

Betty loved gardening, and in the summer she could be found sitting under a finely pruned tree, watering her roses and irises. Betty loved to collect salt and pepper shakers and she proudly displayed her collection, gathered from all over the world for her.  

She loved to get all dressed up and put on her signature red lipstick and Estee Lauder perfume to go shopping. She was very artistic and would often do pencil drawings or mold clay figures for her grandchildren. 

Betty enjoyed music, laughter, and a good joke. She was a loving, kind, and generous person and thoroughly appreciated the beautiful things in life. She loved watching her children and grandchildren play in school sports and other activities.

In addition to her husband of 60 years, Betty was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, sister, two sons-in-law, and one grandson.  She is survived by her seven children, 19 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, who along with many other relatives and friends will always love her and miss her greatly.

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