Bettycille was born in Vallejo, CA in 1928, in the house of her Grandparents, Lucille and Bob Newton, at 308 Carolina St. In 1936, she, with her parents Mabel and Austin Smith Hall moved to the Coombs Ranch at Soscol. (Currently, near the statue of the wine press.) She was raised in Napa and graduated from Napa High Class of 1946.

Her mother Mabel (neè Newton) and father Austin Smith Hall (Smitty) were avid horse lovers. They saw to it that she had her own horse at age 4 and continued with her equine hobby until she sold her last horse in 1946. Through the late 40’s she pursued her airplane pilot’s license until moving to San Francisco and going to work for Grant Bros. in the Silver Dept., and later moving to Macy’s San Francisco.

She met her husband, lifelong partner, and best friend Russell Parker Taft in San Francisco in 1951 and they were married and returned to Vallejo as a bride and groom with Parker going to work with his father as an attorney in the law firm Taft, Wright and Hopkins and Betty going to work as a bookkeeper for Breuner’s Furniture, on Virginia Street.

Betty was active in Napa Ski Club, American Airwomen, PTA at Highland School, Campfire, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Lilac Branch Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Vallejo Kiwanis Club and Vallejo Suburban Kiwanis. They gave generously to numerous charities, environmental and fraternal organizations.

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She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Russell Parker Taft, and three children; Robert R. (Gale) Taft of Napa, Russell N. (Val) Taft of Orinda, Leslie Jean Diederich, of Colfax and four grandchildren, whom she adored and was very proud; Andrew and Forrest Diederich, James Parker Taft, and Camryn Riley Taft.

A celebration of her life is planned at the Springbrook Masonic Temple, 101 Temple Way, Vallejo, CA 94591, on April 29th, 2017, at 1:00 PM.

Betty was an avid gardener, who loved to make the world around her more beautiful. When she couldn’t, her favorite florist was B&B, on Redwood St. in Vallejo, who in turn loved Betty, and always seemed to go the extra mile for her. If flowers are sent, we hope you can use them. Or, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made in her name to the Vallejo Suburban Kiwanis Charitable Foundation. Please contact Bob Davis at


the life of: Bettycille (Hall) Taft
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