Obituary: Betty Baron

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7/22/1942 – 4/28/2023

Having survived decades of autoimmune conditions, she left her beloved family and friends on April 28, 2023. She enjoyed reading, writing, and solving  puzzles—word, number, logic, and jigsaw—as well as games, especially Scrabble, Boggle, and cards. She liked photography, classical and folk music, and opera. Walking, swimming, and cooking gave her pleasure, as did travel and language adventures.                                                                                                        

Born July 22, 1942, in Highland Park, MI, to Walfred and Lillian (Isotalo) Isaacson, Betty graduated from Cass Technical High School, in Detroit, where she pursued the chemical-biological curriculum, edited the Cass Technician, and worked as an assistant in one of the biology labs.                                                                                                                                         

After she received a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan, Betty moved to Berkeley, CA, with plans to attend Stanford University in the fall of 1964. Instead, she met Frank Baron, whom she married on July 12 at the Unitarian Church near Berkeley. Before joining the Peace Corps with Frank, Betty served as principal of the Children’s Center in Oakland. Following two years teaching English in Ethiopia, the couple moved to Munich, Germany, where Frank had received an Alexander von Humboldt grant.         

Betty enjoyed accompanying Frank on his trips to places both domestic and foreign. The couple spent time in Germany, Mexico, Japan, China, and South Africa.                                     

In August, 1970 Frank and Betty moved to Lawrence, where Frank had been appointed assistant professor of German at the University of Kansas. Betty worked as an editor and book reviewer. In preparation to teach ESL at the adult level, she attended graduate classes at KU. She then taught at the Don Bosco Center and at Johnson County Community College, until 2003, when she accepted the position of campus recruiter for the Peace Corps at KU.                           

She received awards for both writing and editing. At the University of Michigan, for example, Betty received first prize in the undergraduate division of drama, which Arthur Miller presented.

She enjoyed volunteering as a language consultant, reading for the sight-impaired, and serving as a docent. She served the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Lawrence on several committees, and  twice as secretary, twice as chair. She also participated on various boards, including the Emergency Services Council and the Ecumenical Campus Ministries.                                            

Betty was proud of survivors: husband, Frank; son, Christopher, and his wife, Beth Skinner; and daughter, Maya.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Audio-Reader, the Spencer Museum of Art at KU, Just Food, Doctors without Borders. the Humane Society, or other charity of donors’ choice.

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