Betty Mata Saeri
Formerly of Baker City, 1933-2020
Betty Erlene Mata Saeri, 86, of Baker City, died Jan. 29, 2020.
A celebration of Betty’s wonderful and unique life will be announced later; there will be one in Baker City and another in California.
Betty was born in June 1933, at Belle Fourche, South Dakota, to Joseph Medearis and Alma Nickolson. She lived in San Diego most of her childhood and was raised with her dear cousins, Caroline, Anita and Bobby Gutierrez. She eventually moved to San Francisco where she met her first love Emilio Mata.
In the Bay Area she learned the skills of a pediatric and geriatric nurse’s aid and worked at Washington Hospital in Fremont for over 25 years. Many years she often worked diligently at 2 or 3 jobs to maintain her household for her children and grandchildren. Everyone was always welcomed in her household.
Many weekends she would spend with family and friends especially with the Bryant family consisting of her best friend Barbara and family; she loved to party. She thrived on cultural diversity, thus loved to travel around the world. One of her favorites was a medical trip to India where hospital staff traveled to struggling areas of India, caring for the sick. She also loved visiting a small village in the Philippines where her friend Barbara was raised and where life was simple.
Betty moved to Baker to spend the later part of her life with her son Mark and his family. She loved having her home in Baker and living independently; however, her daughter, Connie, came later to care for her the last eight years of her life. Although her California family wanted her back there, Betty persisted to live her remaining years in Baker and to take care of the feral cats, she feared leaving them alone.
She was comforted by her Baker family on her last days and passed peacefully.
She was a lover of all animals. She cared for many Baker City feral cats, once counted 35 of them, sorry neighbors. Through her life she has had many animals including dogs, cats and large parrots. In fact the animals slowed down her travels; however, in her later life the animals, including her feral cats, were her top priority, especially since she was a true nurturer in character.
She is survived by her children, Constance Mata of Baker City, Deborah Mata of California, Mark Mata Sr. of Baker, Patrick Cerroni of South Jordan, Utah, John Mata and Margot Mata-Perez of California and their living spouses: Gerry Bakalian, Francie Mata and Michael Perez; 10 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and 8 great-great-grandchildren.
Betty was preceded in death by husbands, Emilio Mata and Albert Small; and one of her favorite sons-in-law, Ronald Fanjul.