Betty Lou (Polly) Driver peacefully passed from this earth at home in Feather Canyon, Paradise, California, on April 2, 2018 at 91 years young. She was the only surviving child of Grover Cleveland Polly and Ida May Ailshire. As her mother had lost her two previous babies at birth, they traveled by horse and wagon from their farm near Concord, Kentucky to Columbus, Ohio, where there were better medical facilities. On May 28, 1926, after a long and difficult labor, Betty was finally born, healthy and adventurous from the start.
Betty spent the first five years of her life on a farm in Lewis County, Kentucky. Her family frequently took a leaky rowboat across the Ohio River to Manchester, Ohio to visit relatives and pick up supplies. Betty’s job was to bail the water out with her little tin cup.
In 1931 her parents purchased a tobacco farm across the river in Adams County, Ohio. There she grew up, learning to cook on a wood stove, milk cows, work in the fields, and attending the one-room school down the road from her home.
Betty graduated from West Union high school at age 16 as president of her senior class. The following summer, she worked at a defense factory for three months to help raise money for college. A true “Rosy the Riveter,” she quickly learned to rivet with the best of them. She entered nurses training in the fall of 1943 and soon after joined the Nurses Cadet Corps. WWII ended three months before she graduated from nursing school, so she spent the next year working in a veteran’s hospital. Her nursing career spanned almost 50 years. After retirement, she volunteered for the Red Cross. When asked for career advice, she always admonished, “Find what gives you passion.”
Over her lifetime, Betty found many passions. Besides her family, and nursing, she loved reading and history, passing both those loves to her children. She was involved in her church and especially in the Dorcas Society, where she volunteered most of her adult life. Another love was her TOPS (Take Off Pounds) groups. She first joined in the mid-1960s in Anaheim and stayed actively involved until the last three years of her life. Once she moved to Feather Canyon Retirement, she enthusiastically joined in, delighting everyone with her love of life, fun costumes, and contagious exuberance. She soon became an ambassador, greeting new residents, introducing them to other residents, and helping them become involved in their new community.
Betty met the love of her life, George James Driver Jr., at an USO club. After a two-year courtship, they married at her aunt’s home in Dayton, Ohio on 19 Apr 1947. They enjoyed almost 50 years together before he passed away in Paradise, California 16 Jan 1995. During their marriage, they lived in Ohio, California, and Idaho. They moved to Paradise, California from Idaho in 1989. In 2006 Betty moved to Feather Canyon where she quickly made many friends.
After her husband died, Betty indulged in another passion – traveling. She took several trips,
traveling all over the United states and even beyond. For her 85th birthday, Feather Canyon helped her check off the last item on her bucket list – a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful Napa Valley. Other memorable trips included a cruise to Alaska, visiting the Hawaiian Islands, Canada, and traveling as far away as Fiji.
Betty was predeceased by her parents, her infant sister, Emma Wanida, an infant brother, and her beloved husband, Jim. She is survived by her four children, Polly (Jeff) Smith, Tom, Richard (Vicki), and George (Adriana), five grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. She will also be dearly missed by her cherished cat, Susie, and her many friends both near and far.
Her family wishes to thank her main caregivers, Annee Moore and Susan Jette, the wonderful staff at Feather River Hospice, Ryan Matoguinas who went far and beyond his job description by stepping in and helping to care for her cat while she was in the hospital and rehab, and all her friends at Feather Canyon who helped in any way they could.
Services will be on Saturday, April 7, at 2pm in the Atrium at Feather Canyon Retirement, 5900 Canyon View Dr., Paradise, CA. In lu of flowers, her family requests that donations be made to Feather River Hospice.