Bettye Lou Loftis March 27, 1933 - April 11, 2017 Tulare Bettye Lou Loftis, a longtime resident of Tulare, died on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 in Tulare. She was 84. The death was confirmed by her sons, Patrick and Danny Loftis. Bettye was born Bettye Lou Mills in Lindsay, California on March 27, 1933 to Esther and Elbert Mills. An only child, she was strongly influenced by her mother's elegant style, quick wit and love of laughter. When her parents divorced, Esther and Bettye relocated to San Francisco, California, where they resided in the lively Bayshore neighborhood. After attending Bayshore Elementary School and falling in love with everything that the city had to offer - particularly Ghirardelli chocolate, and its glossy department stores, Esther and Bettye relocated back to Tulare just in time for Bettye to attend Tulare Union High School. She was just 15 when she met her future husband, a young track star, Lowell "Bud" Loftis, who attended nearby Hanford High School. Amongst her friends, Bettye was known for her lithe figure and long legs, and after numerous unsuccessful attempts at a date, Bud won her over, and they quickly became inseparable. On January 26, 1951, Esther agreed to help the young couple elope to Los Angeles. She was only 17, but she always said that "they had the kind of love that most are lucky to read about." For her wedding day, she balked at tradition and she chose to wear a dark navy blue skirt suit. Her granddaughters echo the sentiment behind this choice, agreeing that she was "irreverent, bossy and stylish." Together they built a life full of love, joy, and fun. Bud joined the Navy, and after a few years in Coronado, California, Bettye and Bud settled in what would become their permanent home, in Tipton, California. Together, they worked to ensure that the family cotton farm was successful. During the day, Bettye was the farm's business manager and bookkeeper. They had three children, Michael Bruce Loftis (1953-1970), Patrick Mark Loftis (1955-), and Daniel Brian Loftis (1959-). After a tragic accident in 1970 took Michael's life, the family became even closer, and many years later they made the bold and brave decision to remove the cotton, and replace them with pistachio trees. For fun, she and Bud would travel as far as Bud's Bonanza airplane would fly - most frequently to Las Vegas, where they both loved to attend shows, gamble and play slot machines together. Her no-nonsense attitude, marshmallow-like heart and love of life made her an incredible neighbor and friend, and it was not uncommon to find her generous spirit helping someone in need. She spent the past 12 years following Bud's passing with her family and friends, but she was never not missing her "other half." After a brave battle with a long-term illness, Bettye passed away peacefully last Tuesday, surrounded by her family. She is preceded in death by her husband, Lowell "Bud" Loftis, and son Michael Bruce Loftis. She is survived by sons Patrick Mark Loftis, Daniel Loftis daughter-in-law Tami Loftis of Tulare, and 5 grandchildren, Tara Elizabeth, Summer Katherine, Jill Caroline, Michael Benjamin and Jenna Danielle. The Loftis family would like to thank Cindy, Melissa and Dina for providing extraordinary care. A viewing will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Millers Funeral Home-Tulare. A graveside funeral service will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017 at the Tulare Cemetery at 1:00 PM.
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