October 14, 1932 – April 20, 2021
52 Year Resident of Santa Cruz County
It is with great sadness that the family of Betty Van Dyke announces that she passed away peacefully in Aptos at the age of 88. Born to Nick and Rita Mardesich who emigrated from Croatia, Betty was raised in Cupertino and attended Fremont High School.
From an early age, she loved working on the family ranch in Cupertino where her father was renowned for the delicious Blenheim apricots and Bing cherries that he raised. A farmer in both heart and soul, Betty was a much-loved vendor at the Westside Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and the Live Oak Farmer’s Market on Sundays where she proudly displayed her beautiful apricots, cherries, and the domesticated capers that she harvested from a plant with origins in Croatia. Betty was very proud of her Croatian Heritage. She was both a pioneer of early organic fruit production and at the same time followed her father’s footsteps in traditional orchard ranching, after she took over the family’s operation in Gilroy. Her son Peter now manages the operations of the family ranch.
Betty was blessed to have a loving group of lifelong friends that remained in her life for 80 years or more. Schoolmates in the Cupertino area with whom she attended first grade continued their friendships through college and up until her health began to fail.
In 1952 while Betty was completing her degree from San Jose State, she became a part of another pioneer group of early modern day female surfers. With Santa Cruz as her backyard, she made countless friends in the surfing community and enjoyed the company of kindred spirits.
Betty was an accomplished musician, and living in Santa Cruz in the 1960s brought with it the ability to see many local shows and famous groups in Santa Cruz and at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Stories of Betty going with her friends to see shows in the city will continue to be shared by her loved ones. She learned to play the cello in grade school and by high school, was a talented keyboard player, and later learned classical guitar. She routinely played the organ and piano for the choir at St. Mary Catholic Church in Gilroy.
Betty is survived by her husband of 51 years, Ray Stout of Santa Cruz; her sons, Peter Van Dyke of Gilroy, Kurt Van Dyke of Costa Rica, and Eric Van Dyke of Sonora. She also leaves her beloved grandchildren Nick, Cody, Michaela, Salvador, and Lulu; and her two great grandchildren: one of Nick and one of Michaela.
Friends and family will gather on Thursday April 29 at 1 p.m. at Benito and Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel. COVID precautions and seating procedures will be enforced. If you wish to share your condolences and reflections with her family, please visit the Benito and Azzaro homepage. The ceremony can be viewed live via Tribucast using the link: https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/930086595
A kind act of charity made to either Santa Cruz Symphony or Surfing Heritage Museum in Betty’s memory is appreciated.