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Betty  H. Himmelblau

Obituary for Betty H. Himmelblau

November 9, 1922 - September 3, 2015
Austin, Texas | Age 92

Obituary

Betty H. Himmelblau, age 92, died September 3, 2015 at the Westminster Arbour Health Center in Austin, Texas. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Dr. David M. Himmelblau. She is survived by her children and their spouses, Margaret and Donald Nellor of Austin, and Andrew Himmelblau and Ellen Hurley of Bedford, MA; her grandchildren Travis Nellor of Austin and Stacie Nellor of Portland, OR; her brother-in-law Leo Himmelblau and family of Wilmette, IL; and her sister-in-law Barbara Hartman of Wilmette, IL and family.

Mom was born in Baltimore, MD, the daughter of Irvin H. and Sylvia G. Hartman. She grew up in Chicago, IL and graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where she first met Dad in elementary school. She then attended Stephens College followed by the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her B.S. in Occupational Therapy. Mom served as a U.S. Naval WAVE officer during World War II. She was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Seattle to help rehabilitate wounded veterans. After the war, Mom reconnected with Dad at a party with friends, and they were married in 1948. They lived in Chicago, IL, Fort Riley, KS (during Dad's service during the Korean War), and Seattle, WA before moving to Austin in 1957 when Dad joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of Texas (UT).

Mom's contributions to the City of Austin and UT are remarkable. She served on the Austin Planning Commission before being elected to the City Council in 1975, where she served three terms. While on the City Council, she was instrumental in working on health care issues, including establishing Austin's Medical Assistance Program, and shepherding ordinances that created the Austin Commission for Women and the Austin Arts Commission. Her long and distinguished career in public service included serving as the Chair of the Brackenridge Hospital Board of Directors; a member of the board of the Brackenridge Foundation; a member of the Austin/Travis County Health Care Task Force; a member of the Statewide Health Care Coordinating Council; Chair of the Central Texas Health Systems Agency; and Chair of the Texas Health Facilities Commission – she was one of the first women in Texas to chair a major regulatory agency.

Mom was also involved in a number of other civic activities and causes affecting women. She was a past president of the Austin branch of the American Association of University Women and the Austin Civic Ballet. She was a member of the executive committee of the Austin Chamber of Commerce; Vice President of the Austin Symphony Society; and a member of the Austin Settlement Club, Junior Helping Hand, and the Austin Women's Club. Mom stanchly supported women's athletics at UT. She was proud to serve on the Athletics Council for the University of Texas Women's Athletics Program and the Longhorn Foundation. Mom received honours from the Austin Citizen; the American Association of University Women; and Women in Communications, Inc.

Mom loved to read, watch U.T. football and women's U.T. basketball, the Dallas Cowboys, and baseball. She loved being a politician and still liked to work the crowds where ever she went – it would take at least an hour to leave Luby's after we finished eating while Mom said hello to everyone on our way out. She was intelligent, generous, tenacious, and an inspiration to her family and friends.

The family would like to thank everyone at Westminster Arbour Health Center and New Century Hospice of Austin for their loving care and support. In accordance with Mom's wishes, there will not be a service. However, a Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish North, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd, to share stories and honor her memory.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Austin Symphony, 1101 Red River Street,
Austin, TX 78701 (online at http://www.austinsymphony.org/donate) or the University of Texas CHE - Friends of Alec Annual Fund to support students in the Chemical Engineering Program at: Friends of Alec, 
301 E. Dean Keaton, C2104, Austin, Texas 78712 (online at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/utgiving/online/nlogon/?menu1=EN**).

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Austin Symphony, 1101 Red River Street,
Austin, TX 78701 (online at http://www.austinsymphony.org/donate) or to the
  • University of Texas CHE - Friends of Alec Annual Fund to support students in the Chemical Engineering Program at: Friends of Alec, 
301 E. Dean Keaton, C2104, Austin, Texas 78712 (online at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/utgiving/online/nlogon/?menu1=

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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