Brigadier Betty Whiteside

November 15, 1921–February 25, 2017

Brigadier Betty Whiteside was promoted to Glory Feb. 25 from Oxnard, California.

Betty was born Nov. 15, 1921, in Detroit to John and Maurine Whiteside. The family moved to California in 1926, eventually settling in Santa Barbara. Betty had three sisters: Maurine, Margaret and Pat.

The open-air ministry of The Salvation Army caught the attention of 3-year-old Betty, who enjoyed hearing the band play during weekly meetings near her home. She would sit on a fire hydrant to listen, and soon made friends with the drummer, who would help her down from her perch. Drums would feature significantly in Whiteside’s life and ministry.

Described by her junior high band teacher as “tone deaf,” Betty ended up playing the drum in the school band and The Salvation Army band. She never stopped beating the drum for The Salvation Army, and even at age 95, she still took up her drumstick and played whenever the opportunity arose.  

Betty was not enrolled as a senior soldier until after her retirement—she attended Training College, was commissioned and spent 45 years as a Salvation Army officer before being enrolled. Eventually, Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef enrolled her during a Southern California Divisional Headquarters (DHQ) chapel service.  

For the first 35 years of her officership, Whiteside used her nursing degree, serving in the Home and Hospital program at Salvation Army homes for unwed mothers in Denver; Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; El Paso, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska; and Boise, Idaho. She spent her last years of active officership at Southern California DHQ as Nurses Fellowship Secretary, Silver Star Representative and Secretary for Services to the Aging.

In 1986, Brigadier Betty Whiteside retired from active service, but kept busy at the Oxnard Corps, which held a 95th birthday party for her in November 2016.

Betty is survived by her nieces Katherine Kelly and Patty Smith; nephews Arlen Lemons, Bob (Dana) Lemons, and Jesse (Irma) Calles; and numerous great-nieces and nephews, and great-great-nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her faithful caretaker, Robin Campos. Betty’s three sisters and a niece, Bonnie Draper, predeceased her.

A celebration of life service took place March 19 at the Oxnard Corps with Territorial Commander Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder presiding.  

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