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Daniel, Betty Nelson

(August 30th, 2019)

Betty left us peacefully on the morning of August 18th 2019 at Kootenay Lake Hospital with family at her side.  She will be sorely missed by her family and many friends in Nelson and New Denver for whom she was friend, mentor, role model and inspiration.

The daughter of James Nelson and Beatrice Mules, Betty was born in Baltimore, Maryland on June 18th, 1922.  Growing up in a sailing family she sailed with her father and raced her own Star boat on Chesapeake Bay.  She attended Mount Holyoke College, completing a degree in Physiology. In 1943, she joined the US Naval Reserve and was discharged in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant.

After the war she attended Johns Hopkins University completing a Masters in Biology, where she met Edwin Embrey Daniel whom she married in 1948.  They moved to Salt Lake City, where daughter Rory was born.  Because of their activism, they were encouraged to leave the USA during the McCarthy era, and moved to Vancouver where sons Mike and Tim were born, and then later to Edmonton. Betty worked in the University of Alberta Zoology department while raising her children.  She became a Canadian citizen and was a prominent peace, anti-nuclear, environmental activist, and was also active in the Voice of Women.

Betty retired early, and together with new partner Penny Bonnett built a house in Blewett, B.C.  Betty and Penny became active in the Nelson community, and participated in the DTUC library occupation to save the book collection.  They were instrumental in forming the popular Silver Screen Film Club which brought classic and alternative films to Nelson.  Later they formed a women’s video group to explore and discuss roles of women in film, and which also established lasting friendships.

Betty and Penny later moved to New Denver, where Betty was active in the Hidden Garden Gallery and other community projects.  After Penny passed away in 2013, Betty returned to Nelson to live out her senior years.  Her love of travel, activism, sailing, hiking, nature, birds, music, education, books, and support for local writers and artists were constants throughout her life.  She maintained friendships with people of all ages, and was a role model for living life on her own terms with conviction, action, and belief. Friends were the most important thing in her life after family.

Betty is survived by sons Mike (Carleen) and Tim (Maddy) Daniel, niece Jody Daniels, grandsons Benjamin and Matthew Daniel and former husband Edwin (Virginia) Daniel. She was predeceased by partner Penny Bonnett, daughter Rory, and sister Jo Booze.  Many thanks to the staff of the 3rd Floor at Kootenay Lake Hospital for their kindness and compassion in her final days.  A special note of gratitude to her friends in the local communities who supported the family through this difficult time.

Please join us to celebrate Betty’s life at the Vallican Whole, 1pm – 4pm on Sunday, September 29, 2019.


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