Betty Praul joined her friends and family in heaven on July 25, 2022 at the blessed age of 97. Red-haired and full of wit and kindness, Betty always made sure there was a seat at the Thanksgiving table for anyone who needed it. She had an uncanny way of calling when you needed a friend or some gentle wisdom.
Born Bethel Lou Tanner on May 4, 1925 in Napa, California to George and Trudy Ilene Tanner, Betty was a Napa native, and graduated from Napa High School. Betty was a talented dancer and spent many evenings dancing at the Dream Bowl to the sounds of big band legends. There she met her first husband, Lawrence (Sandy) Harris, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corp. Only a few weeks into their marriage, Lawrence was declared missing-in-action when his plane went down over North Africa in 1945. Betty met Bill Praul, who would become her second husband, at the Oaklake Park swimming pool and developed a friendship. Once she processed Sandy’s passing, her friendship with Bill blossomed.
In November of 1946, Betty married Bill in Minden, Nevada and they honeymooned at the CalNeva Lodge. During their marriage together, they built a well-known family plumbing business with the motto Don’t Stall - Call Praul! They raised three children together, Dr. David Praul, Michael Praul and Belinda Sanchez née Praul.
On a family camping trip to Lake Tahoe, Betty fell in love with the area and followed the lead of her cousin Bev Turchet and good friends Stan and Ruthie Cliff to purchase a lot in Tahoe Swiss Village in 1957. They would then build a 3-story cabin in time to attend the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. Many fond memories were made in the rustic vacation home where they would entertain family and friends. Summers were spent water skiing and winters snow skiing, where she enjoyed the family time significantly more than the sports. She created traditions with her family and friends in beautiful Lake Tahoe; every New Year’s Eve, she and her guests and neighbors would turn the car lights on the hill in front of the cabin and toboggan until the early hours, or until someone took a bad crash! More often than not, Betty would presciently invite the family doctor, Milt Miller, for those memorable weekends!
As her children grew, Betty became quite involved in social and fund-raising activities including the PTA, square dance club, bridge and mahjong clubs, Elks Club, Napa and Silverado Country Clubs, Community Projects and Fancy Fair. Betty was a tap dancer and choreographed several routines for fund-raising events as well as starting the annual luau working with Chef Richard Schork which would move from Silverado CC to the Elks Club with Richard. Betty maintained a very active schedule with her many wonderful friends in Napa. In 1977, she would separate from Bill and move to the cabin in Lake Tahoe to live for the next 13 years. In Tahoe, she became a deft quilter and naturalist, understanding how to manage the elements on her own throughout the changing seasons. When the weather and her distance from her family became too much of a challenge, Betty sold the cabin and moved to Citrus Heights. Betty spent several wonderful years taking her grandchildren to The Nut Tree and the State Fair, teaching them to swim in her pool, and sharing with them the key to happiness; savoring a slice of cheesecake with someone you love. Betty spent many cherished weekdays with her granddaughter Marissa, laughing and singing together during the commutes between school and ballet class.
In 2010, Betty fell and fractured her hip, which led to a long period of recovery, and she moved into a senior care facility. During her last year of life, Betty lived with her daughter Belinda and son-in-law Demetrio at their home in Granite Bay, where she enjoyed the many sunset strolls around the neighborhood.
Betty is survived by her daughter and husband Belinda and Demetrio Sanchez, granddaughter Marissa and husband Mark Buntz and great grandsons Maxwell and Charlie of Carlsbad; son Michael and wife Rebecca Praul of Napa, grandson Chad Praul and wife Colleen and great granddaughter Lincoln and great grandson Hudson of South Lake Tahoe; grandson Aaron and wife Shannon, and great granddaughter, Cate of Birmingham, Al; grandson Lucas Praul and partner Alicia Nelson and great grandchildren Landon, Owen and Mia of Kelso, Wa.
Betty’s son David predeceased her.
Betty requested a private interment at Tulocay Cemetery where her grandparents, parents, brother and many relatives lay in rest. A private reception will follow at the family home in Napa. Condolences may be sent to Tulocay Cemetary and donations may be made to Community Projects of Napa or the local Jameson Canyon Animal Rescue.
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