Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight resident, Betty Telesford – Betty Spears Telesford was born in Charleston, West Virginia to parents Russell Wellington and Catherine Gallion. Her mother was an elementary school teacher until her marriage. Her father taught French in a segregated school until the Great Depression led to the loss of his job. Realizing the need to persevere, he learned the trade of bricklaying, which helped guide him through many tough times as munitions plants were needing constructing. At this time, these trade jobs were majority union and black workers were not union-eligible. Betty’s father, along with several other tradesmen, petitioned the union and won, granting them membership and retaining their jobs.
During World War II there was a shortage of nurses and Betty elected to join the US Cadet Nurse Corps, established in July 1943 to allow eligible women the opportunity to be sent through nursing school for the benefit of serving wartime America. Betty was located in Harlem, New York, and worked there for Harlem Hospital, where she met her future husband, a medical doctor intern.
Betty and her husband relocated to several different states throughout their careers and marriage, including Illinois, Kansas and ultimately California, where they settled in a town called Porterville, north of Bakersfield, and west of Sequoia National Forest. Betty continued to work part-time as a nurse and then, in the 1960s, decided to go back to college for a degree in Sociology. The cultural changes of the 1960s, linked with political uncertainties, and a continuing fight for civil rights, led Betty to want to open her mind to help her understand the direction things were heading and the recurring social patterns that are inherent in historical times like those.
Betty had two children, a daughter who lives locally in Davis, and a son who has lived in Denmark for the past 27 years. Betty says she most enjoys jazz, symphony and folk music, and movies that offer good dialogue and conversation.
She says she most admires her husband and father, men whom she says both survived and prospered in this world through all odds against them. Her father would sometimes say, “It’s a cold, cruel world, but you have to survive.” Betty says that the things she likes most about being at the Carlton Senior Living Davis is that she doesn’t have to worry about shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening, driving, and having to fix things that break.
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Written by Eric DeMuth