Betten, Paul H.


Betten, Paul H.

Date Updated



Elementary Education

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Oregon, 1956 EdD

University of Oregon, 1950 MA

Oregon College of Education

Northwestern University

Whitman College, 1946 BA

Washington State College

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1956-1986

Eugene Public Schools, Principal and Teacher, Oregon, 1949-1956

Multnomah Dist. No. 2, 8th grade, Oregon, 1947-1949

Clallam Bay, Washington (7th, 8th grade), 1946-1947

Administrative and Professional Experience

Alaskan Salmon Canneries, Summers of '39 and '40.

UNSR, November 1942‑January 1946.

Leschen Wire Rope, 1941‑1942

Selected Publications

Series of Primary Grade books.

Personal Commentary

In my early years I never thought of going to college, much less teaching in one. My father died when I was four. In an era when unmarried men and married women (even a widow with four children) were not readily accepted as teachers, my mother could teach only in remote undesirable areas.

We moved to Spokane, WA, for my eighth grade and the change from two room schools to a platoon system school was more startling than the transition the next year to a 1200 student high school. On graduation I had an opportunity to work in an Alaskan salmon cannery. Rooming with Filipinos, who cleaned fish in summer and worked in the beet fields of Arizona in the winter, did a lot to motivate me to take college seriously.

I went into the Seabees as a storekeeper in '42 and "Uncle" sent me to Alaska again‑­this time to a tent atop six feet of snow at Dutch Harbor. A long shot paid off in completing tests for officer training‑‑V‑12 at Whitman College, midshipman training at Northwestern U, and assorted other training. Upon being commissioned in '44, I was married to my first wife. After a few months of fortuitous stateside duty, I was shipped to the Pacific aboard a PCE(R) (only 6 were built), a 600 ton AM hull and configured with 100 berths aft to transport casualties from hot spots to hospital ships.

Our twins were born in '47. My son is Personnel Director for Portland Public Schools and my daughter is Human Resources Director for Tektronix and finishing up a year of duty in Hong Kong setting up programs in Australia and much of Asia.

My wife died of cancer early in '82 and I married again near the end of the year. I met my second wife through tennis at The Villages. We still play and in '93 I was on a USTA 3.0 Village team that took second in the national senior tournament.

We've been in choruses, bands, orchestras and taken a lot of interesting Elderhostels and other trips. Starting only after retirement, my wife is a fine watercolorist who exhibits and teaches regularly. I do a lot of woodworking and recently have been making collapsible trivet/baskets. I've done many with exotic handles such as outlining and woodburning detail of a walnut junk sailing on purple heart water against an oak Hong Kong skyline, Schloss Neuschwanstein, St. Basil of Moscow, and a wild assortment of simpler ones.

Date Completed: 7/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.

I was born in Spokane, WA, but my father died when I was four and most of my elementary school years were in very small nearby towns where my mother had teaching jobs. We moved back before I started high school, but it was quite a transition to go into a 1200 student high school. On graduation, I had an opportunity to work in salmon canneries on Kodiak Island in 1939 and in Seldovia on the Kenai Peninsula in 1940. My roommates were Filipinos who worked in canneries in the summer and the beet fields of Arizona in the winter. This money gave me a chance to go to college and the roommate histories gave me great motivation to be very serious about school.

In 1942 I joined the U.S. Navy, but was surprised to find myself in the Seabees and subsequently living in a tent on snow covered ground in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. An opportunity arose for me to take tests that allowed me to go stateside for V12 training at Whitman College and Midshipman School in Chicago. Sea duty took me across the Pacific and I was in an Okinawa harbor when the Japanese surrendered.

On being commissioned, I married and on being discharged decided to attend Oregon College of Education for an Elementary Teaching Credential. During my first year of teaching our twins arrived. Both have recently retired, my daughter from Tektronix as a Human Resources Director and my son from Personnel Director for Portland Public Schools.

After five years of teaching and five more as an Elementary Principal in Eugene, Oregon, I had completed my EdD at the University of Oregon and I started teaching at San José State in 1956. In 1969 our twins graduated from college and were starting teaching careers. In 1970 we decided to change our life style a bit too and moved to The Villages. In the next decade we were free to travel more at vacation times and have great times with our children and grandchildren. At the end of the decade my wife began to have cancer problems and she died in March of 1982.

I enjoyed playing tennis at The Villages and occasionally had my future wife as a drop- opponent or partner. Later in the year were married. She is a fine water colorist who exhibits and teaches regularly. I have always done a lot of woodworking, but lately my interests have turned more to Photoshop activities on a computer.

Date Updated: 5-4-11


Betten, Paul H.