August 17, 2007
Helen Elizabeth Dyer Hickingbotham, a long time San Francisco Peninsula resident, died peacefully Aug. 8, 2007 in Burlingame. Known as Betsy to her family and friends, she was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1920 to Phoebe Carter and Vivian Oxenham Dyer. Her great-grandfather, Colonel Henry A. Strong, was the co-founder of Eastman Kodak Company and its first president.Her maternal grandparents were Helen Strong and George Robert Carter, the second territorial governor of the Hawaiian Island who was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Her paternal grandparents were Louise Sewall Jackson and John Edward Dyer of England. Betsy moved from the Hawaiian Islands to the Peninsula with her mother and stepfather, Douglas Alexander, in 1930. She was educated in Paris under her Grandmother Carters watchful eye. Upon her return in 1939, she made her debut in both Honolulu and Hillsborough where she met her future husband, Howard J. Hickingbotham.Together they traveled extensively and enjoyed summers at their house at Lake Tahoe and winters at their chalet in Sugar Bowl. Howard and his brother Joseph C. Hickingbotham co-owned the family business, Shreve & Company in San Francisco. Betsy and Howard were married 49 years until his death in 1989. Known to her many friends for her magnificent gardens and horticultural knowledge, she was also a talented and accomplished artist who was incredibly creative, a passionate skier, and she enjoyed being the family historian. She was unendingly generous in sharing her splendid gardens with many charitable organizations. Betsy was a member of the Burlingame Country Club, the Francesca Club, the Hillsborough Garden Club, and St. Mathews Episcopal Church Garden Guild.She supported the arts and horticulture through her continuing interest in the Hillsborough Garden Club, San Francisco Opera, and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, the Palace Legion of Honor, the Nation Tropical Botanical Garden Fund, and the Bishop Museum. She is survived by her brother Robert Alexander and his wife, Anne; children Diane McNabb, Howard J. Hickingbotham, Jr., and his wife, Sandy; Deven Hickingbotham and his wife Renee; and four grandchildren whom she adored. She was preceded in death by her daughter Hilary Carter Hickingbotham and her granddaughter Mercedes Elizabeth Jackson Hotle. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007 at 4 p.m. in Betsys Garden. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Hillsborough Garden Club, the Sugar Bowl Ski Team, the San Francisco Opera, the Hawaiian Missionary Childrens Museum, the Mercedes Elizabeth Jackson Hotle Fund, or a charity of your choice.