Betty Jane Galbo, a longtime Coronado resident, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 4, 2021, just a few weeks before her 85th birthday. Born in Detroit, Michigan to Joseph and Eva Tonkovic, she was a first generation Croatian-American who attended Immaculata High School and graduated at the young age of 16. She attended the University of Detroit and studied sociology and education, with a minor in English, and began her lifelong teaching career at just 20 years old. During her initial teaching years, she commuted to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan where she received a master’s degree in guidance and counseling.
Soon after, Betty followed her parents and sister to Tucson, Arizona, where she met her husband, Charles Galbo, while he was working on his Ph.D in psychology at the University of Arizona. They married in Detroit on Aug. 3, 1963, and first settled in Newport Beach, California where all three of their children were born. They loved travelling together and spent an adventurous year in Switzerland when their children were very young. The family eventually moved to Coronado in 1976 where Betty enjoyed the beautiful weather and all the outdoor amenities the island had to offer.
She stayed active in the community as all three of her children attended Coronado schools and were heavily involved in local sports. She cherished the long beach walks, numerous swimming venues, and idyllic Coronado way of life to raise her children. She thoroughly embraced the island’s close-knit community with her kind-hearted spirit, generous personality, and innate ability to make friends easily. Betty was a passionate reader and writer whose love of literature and the English language was pervasive in the Galbo household. She took this love of English and resumed teaching for middle and high school in the San Diego Unified School District until she retired from John Muir School in 2003 to be a full-time grandmother. In her later years, she enjoyed water aerobics, book club, contra dancing, concerts, movies, and art with her friends.
Betty was predeceased by Charles in 1998 and is survived by her daughter Andrea (Tom), daughter Diana (Jonathan), and son Evan (Louisa); her five grandchildren, Austin, Elli, Isabel, Sedona, and Alexa; and her sister Violet and nephew Joe. Due to COVID restrictions, a memorial celebration of Betty’s life will be held at a later date over the summer when her ashes will be scattered at sea off the San Diego coast.