Betty May Hubbard Baarstad’s Obituary on Ventura County Star

Betty May Hubbard Baarstad

Ventura, CA

Betty Baarstad passed away, peacefully, on July 3, 2017 in her home at the Ventura Townehouse. Her husband of 68 years, David, was by her side. Betty lived a long and rich life, full of love and joy, freely given and gratefully received. She was a cherished educator, musician, and friend, and the beloved heart of her family.

Betty was born on October 5, 1923, in Minot, North Dakota, to Donald and Stella Hubbard. She grew up in Minot within a bright and spirited extended family. She was a good student and active in athletics and the community. Yet her real gift was as a mezzo soprano, and she was in constant demand as a soloist. As a senior in college, she had the opportunity to give a private performance for the noted opera singer Marian Anderson. Ms. Anderson was so impressed that she arranged for Betty to gain acceptance, and a partial scholarship to the prestigious Julliard Conservatory of Music in New York.

Betty attended Minot State Teacher’s College, graduating as Student Body President in 1946. She accepted her first teaching job in the small prairie town of Plentywood in North Eastern Montana. It was there she met another new teacher named David Baarstad, a farm boy from the tiny town of Nome, North Dakota. They soon learned they shared a love of family, education, and especially music. A romance was born that was to last 71 years. Betty and Dave’s teaching duties included music and choir. In that small, remote town they were able to recruit and develop students into polished choirs that won awards in regional and state competitions. Betty and Dave were married in Minot, North Dakota on June 15, 1949.

Betty and Dave wished to continue their education, and Dave was accepted for Master’s work at Northwestern University in Chicago. Following an audition, Betty was accepted into Northwestern’s graduate school of music with a full scholarship. She soon earned a reputation as an outstanding soloist, and sang in many of Chicago’s largest churches and auditoriums. She also had the opportunity to sing on NBC radio in Chicago. Upon completion of their education, they returned to Minot where their son Jeff was born in 1954. Betty and Dave visited family in the San Diego area during the winter. They decided their future was in California, and moved to Anaheim in June 1955, the same month Disneyland opened a mile from their new home.

In 1961, Dave accepted a job with Hueneme School District and the family moved to Ventura, Betty and Dave’s home for the past 56 years. Once son Jeff was established, Betty returned to her career, accepting a job as a history and music teacher at Balboa Middle School. She spent the next 21 years serving two generations of Ventura students, and she made many lifelong friends among the Balboa staff. She was known to prowl the halls of Balboa looking for “mature” boys who she could recruit to sing bass in her choirs. Scores of boys found out that they had an unknown talent, and love for singing, and they were particularly fond of Betty. For decades following her retirement in 1983, Betty would walk down the streets of Ventura, and hear those familiar words; “Hi Mrs. Baarstad, do you remember me?” Betty completed her education with a Master’s degree in education at Chapman University in 1971. Betty and Dave became parishioners at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church upon their arrival in Ventura, and enjoyed decades of worship, service and fellowship with their church family. They were also fixtures in the church choir, with Betty a frequent soloist. They were active in community events, and Betty enjoyed her membership in the Assistance League and the PEO Sisterhood, Chapter FZ. As their roots in Ventura deepened, so too did their friendships throughout the community. Following their retirement, Betty and Dave spent 25 wonderful years traveling all over the country in their motorhome, and with their friends in the VCer’s traveling club. Destinations included the far reaches of Alaska, Mexico and the East Coast. The friendships and memories gained were a blessing, and something for which they were truly grateful.

Betty enjoyed her service in education and the community, and her time with friends. But it was as a wife, mother, grandmother, and family member where she truly excelled. For son Jeff, she was always ready and willing to play catch, nine holes of golf, or assist in a difficult school assignment. She attended every school and athletic event, and her home was always filled with Jeff’s friends, and the kitchen stocked with food to feed the hungry masses. Dave and Betty loved to camp, and it was rare that the family didn’t take a weekend trip with less than three of Jeff’s friends in tow. She was a kind, loving and joyful mother, but could crack the whip when necessary, and on occasion it was. She and Dave were also devoted to their siblings, nieces/nephews and many cousins, and life was filled with Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer gatherings at their home in Ventura, and across the country. When Betty’s grandchildren Brooke and Ian were born, she flawlessly transitioned into the role of Nana. Since son Jeff’s family lived in Ventura, Betty and Dave were constantly with the grandchildren, and took them on many of their trips. Nana spoiled her grandchildren, and provided them with guidance in just the right balance. She was a treasure to them. Yet, when it came to family, it all started and ended in her romance with husband Dave. She was loyal and devoted to him, accepted his career moves without complaint, while carving out her own place at work and in the community. She loved and respected his talents and accomplishments, and as he did hers. No matter how busy life became, there was always time for cards, flowers, and date nights. Theirs is a bond that will never be broken.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Stella Hubbard; brothers, Jack and Bill Hubbard; sister, Leone Hubbard Jackson; and many beloved aunts, uncles and cousins. She is survived by her husband of 68 years David Baarstad; son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Jenny Baarstad of Ventura; granddaughter, Brooke Baarstad of Nipomo; grandson, Ian Baarstad and his fiancee Alyssa Arciniega, and their daughter, Betty’s great-granddaughter Charlotte Baarstad, all of Ventura; and many cherished nieces and nephews.

Betty was buried at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park in a private ceremony with her immediate family on July 7. A memorial service in her honor will be scheduled at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Ventura in mid-August, with details to follow. The family would like to thank the staff at the Ventura Townehouse, Assisted Hospice, and “Victoria’s Girls”, for their loving care of Betty these past months.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, CA 93003. Condolences may be sent to

Published in Ventura County Star on July 9, 2017