Obituary: Betsy Caddes

Longtime nurse, traveler, descendant of 17 Mayflower passengers

Elizabeth “Betsy” Caddes died at home in Costa Mesa on September 3 after battling ovarian cancer for the past year. She was 70 years old.

Born December 21, 1947 in Boston, she was raised in nearby Hyde Park, Massachusetts by parents Harry and Rachel, who began calling her “Betsy” right away. The family, which included her older brother Andrew, later moved a few miles north to Roslindale.

She was very proud of her ancestry— having 17 relatives that sailed on the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620.

In June 1959 the family made the move west to Claremont, where young Betsy enrolled as a seventh grader at then Claremont Junior High (now El Roble Intermediate School).

She was a majority member of Job’s Daughters International, Claremont Bethel 301, where she became friends with Everett Liles. The Liles owned a beach house in Balboa, which her family soon began to rent for weeks at a time every summer, spurring her lifelong love of the Pacific Ocean.

She graduated from the newly-opened Claremont High School in 1965, and took great joy in attending her 50-year class reunion in 2015. In the fall of 1965 she began nursing school at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing in Boston. She loved to tell a favorite story of hers from nursing school where she and her classmates directed traffic in downtown Boston during the Northeast blackout of 1965.

She graduated in 1968 as a registered nurse, and began working at Peter Bent Brigham. She had been looking forward to attending her 50-year Peter Bent Brigham class reunion in October.

She and her college roommate Linda have been lifelong friends. More than 30 years ago, the pair began traveling to Las Vegas with some 15 friends each September for a week of fun.

She moved back to Claremont when her father became ill in the late 1960s. He died in 1969, and by this time she was working at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. Later she was a school nurse at Bonita High School in La Verne. She also enjoyed working for two summers, in 1970 and ’71, as a camp nurse for the Girl Scouts’ Camp Conifer in Running Springs.

She moved to Newport Beach in 1974 and went to work as a floor nurse, charge nurse and primary care nurse at Newport’s Hoag Hospital.

Around 1988 she decided to change course, and became a travel agent at Irvine’s A-Z Travel. This new career allowed her to travel extensively, and to use a computer—both firsts for her.

She utilized her new computer skills when she returned to nursing as a utilization review nurse for COST Care, and then later for CHOC Health Alliance. She stayed in nursing until her retirement, and worked from home for the last several years of her career. A nurse she worked with during this time posted recently that Ms. Caddes always supported her and would often speak up to the administrators on her behalf.

In 1981 she and her sister Marilyn and Marilyn’s son Tom began to live together in Newport Beach, an arrangement that would last until her death. In 1999 the sisters bought a townhouse in Costa Mesa. A best friend from high school said the sisters are, “Two of the nicest people I have ever met.”

Ms. Caddes served on the property association board for her townhouse complex. One neighbor said, “She made it look simple and easy; she had such good common sense.”

She loved baseball, specifically the Los Angeles Angels, and would buy tickets to 20 games every season, as well as season tickets to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (formerly the Orange County Performing Arts Center), for the last 10 years.

She was also handy with a needle, and did beautiful crochet, cross-stitching and sewing, her sister shared, adding that she loved reading and was a thoughtful and creative gift giver.

“She was also a wonderful aunt, who loved her nieces and nephews, traveling wherever she could to watch them in sports activities and theatre and dance performances in Claremont and Costa Mesa,” she added.

Ms. Caddes is survived by her brother, Andrew Caddes of Pomona, and his daughter, Helen Caddes of Los Angeles; sister Marilyn Pettit of Costa Mesa, and her son Thomas Cordova-Caddes and his wife Andrea, and their children Garrett and Serena of Claremont; sister Beverly Kottkamp and her husband Shawn of Claremont, and their children Rachel of Claremont, Elizabeth “Betsy” of San Mateo, California, and Bill of Los Angeles.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 29 at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, 830 W. Bonita Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.

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