Betty Runyan

Betty Runyan, 1913 – 2007

Our much-loved Grandma, Mom, and friend Betty Runyan died on December 28th in Vernon, B.C. Elizabeth Louise Buhlmann was born on September 25th, 1913 and grew up in Solothurn, Switzerland where she loved to ski and hike. When she was eleven she moved to Cincinnati with her family where her father and elder brother started a watch crystal company.

When her first husband died in 1942, Betty trained to become a Red Cross nurse. She served in North Africa during a time of heavy military action. After the war, she set up shop as a seamstress in Berkeley, California where she met and married artist Dan Runyan. They raised their son Bruce in Monterey, near the school where Betty worked as secretary. Betty and Dan believed in the importance of being educated, aware and active in a democratic society. Bruce grew up surrounded by humanistic, rational, and compassionate values.

In 1977, Bruce, Sylvia and Simone settled in Vernon. Shortly after, when Bruce was diagnosed with leukemia, Betty and Dan moved to Vernon to help. They made their home beside Kalamalka Park where Dan continued to paint local landscapes. Through love and loss, Betty has brought her wonderful sense of humour to every experience.

Betty loved to read and research broadly and has always been a source of information and inspiration. She enjoyed classical music and fine art. She was a great cook, gardener and outdoor enthusiast with a positive outlook on life and a generous spirit.

Betty is survived by her granddaughter Simone Runyan, daughter-in-law Sylvia and husband Ron Samborski, and step-grandchildren Tonya, Andrea and Greg, as well as nephews and nieces Simone Aker, Monica Von der Weid, Steve Warkany and Joe Warkany. The family would like to thank all of Betty’s caregivers and friends over the final years of her life, especially Joanne Owens, Thomasina Douglas, Ulla and Jorgen Kjaer and the wonderful staff at Noric House.

A funeral service will be held at the Vernon Funeral Home, 3007-28th Street, on Saturday, January 5th, at 11:00 a.m. Donations in memory of Betty Runyan may be made to the American Friends’ Service Committee (65 Ninth Street, San Francisco, California, 94103, Phone 415-565-0201) or to the charity of your choice.