Betty Slaboda, better known to generations of Claremont High School Marching Band and Show Team members as “Grandma Betty,” died on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. She was 98.
Ms. Slaboda was born on June 21, 1914 in Trenton, New Jersey to Anna and Joseph Kissak, the fourth child in a family of 5 sisters and one brother.
Her parents were ethnic Slovakians who, upon coming to the United States from the Carpathian Mountains near Hungary, changed their surname from its original Kecha to sound more American.
An empty bench in front of the Village Grille in downtown Claremont could be seen draped with flowers, a rosary, a candle emblazoned with an image of the Virgin Mary, photographs and a fresh copy of the Los Angeles Times.
An anonymous well-wisher had also left a handwritten poem. “Come a day, any day. Sit on this bench—Ray’s bench. Speak a while with him, then leave. You have not wasted your day, just lived it better.”