UC Berkeley News


Elizabeth "Betsy" Badè Bacon

27 August 2008

Elizabeth (Betsy) Badè Bacon, residence director of International House for 27 years, passed away peacefully in Berkeley on May 30, surrounded by her loving family.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Badè Bacon

Bacon, as I-House residence director from 1957 to 1968 and again from 1974 to 1989, was frequently the first Berkeley staff member to welcome students to the campus and to International House. In an era before faxes and e-mail, she excelled in the art of communicating across cultures to arrange accommodations and match roommates for more than 10,000 students and scholars reflecting a diversity of nationalities, cultures, religions, and political perspectives.

Upon her retirement from International House in 1989, Bacon said, “Meeting people from all over the world went along with my own education and interests. I really feel it’s a privilege to work in such a unique and interesting environment.” Years later, she was frequently recognized on the street and greeted warmly by alumni grateful for her assistance and support.

Bacon grew up in Berkeley and in San Diego, graduated from Pomona College (1945), and pursued graduate work in history at UCLA. Her lifelong interest in people from other cultures was inspired by a year spent circumnavigating the world by ship and living on her father’s archaeological dig in 1935, in what was then Palestine. (Her father, William Frederic Badè, was professor of Old Testament literature and Semitic literature at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley between 1902 and 1936; its museum of biblical archaeology, on whose advisory board Bacon served for the past five years, bears his name.)

Her extensive travels began with a bicycle trip through Europe in 1949. She enjoyed camping, hiking, skiing, and playing the flute, and was an avid member of the Sierra Club.

A 1968 marriage to Wilbur Bacon, a Foreign Service expert with experience in Korea, ended with his death in 1973. Bacon is survived by her brother, Berkeley Professor Emeritus of Mathematics William Badè and his wife, Eleanor, of Berkeley, as well as by eight nieces and nephews,
11 great-nieces and -nephews, and nine great-great-nieces and -nephews.

Friends, family, and alumni are invited to attend a Celebration of Betsy Bacon’s Life at International House on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m. (Please RSVP to 642-4128 or ihalumni@berkeley.edu). In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720, or to the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709.

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