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Obituary: Dr. Betty Jarman

d. Sept. 4, 2023

Dr. Betty Jarman, a distinguished psychologist and a woman of boundless compassion, passed away on Sept. 4, 2023. During her final days, she was visited by a continuous stream of friends and family, enveloped in an overwhelming outpouring of love as she transitioned.

Betty was born and raised in Fish Creek. Her early years were marked by dreams and imagination. Her passion for music and dance emerged early, and at the age of four, she participated in her first dance recital. Her natural leadership skills became apparent when, stationed at the front of her group to help others follow the routine, she made a mistake, and the entire group followed suit without question.

In her adolescence, Betty’s quick learning abilities and potential were recognized, leading her to attend a prestigious girls’ boarding school at the age of 14. Subsequently, she pursued her education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. During her college years, Betty even ventured into a role quite unconventional for the time, working as a bouncer in a Madison beer bar, a testament to her fearless and adventurous spirit.

Betty’s true calling, however, was in the field of psychology, where her empathy and brilliance shone. After she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees, she embarked on a journey to California to pursue her Ph.D. It was here that she met her husband, Dr. Russell Adelson, also a psychologist, with whom she shared over 45 years of love and partnership before his passing.

Betty and Russell decided to make California their home and began their family, welcoming two daughters into their lives. Betty’s eldest daughter, Kendra Adelson, resides in Santa Cruz, California. Dr. Danen Adelson, a psychologist herself, resides in Sacramento, California, with her husband, Phil Whitsett, and their two children, Peyton and Everett.

Betty’s professional life was marked by a commitment to the welfare of others. She worked for Fresno County Youth Outpatient Services, specializing in children and families. Her gift lay in translating complex psychological knowledge into a language of compassion and understanding, benefiting not only experienced clinicians but also trainees and the wider community. She served on numerous boards and was active with organizations dedicated to equality, women’s rights, and social justice. These organizations included the Title IX Coalition, Hadassah, Planned Parenthood, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, among others.

Upon retiring from Fresno County, Betty continued to make significant contributions to her field. She joined the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she served as the Coordinator of Behavioral Science in the Family & Community Medicine Residency Program. Her continued dedication to equity, cultural competency, and advocacy earned her the respect and admiration of faculty, residents, and the medical community at UCSF, Fresno Center.

Beyond her professional achievements, Betty was a worldly explorer who had the privilege of visiting all continents except Antarctica. Her adventurous spirit and love for travel enriched her life and left her with cherished memories from across the globe.

Dr. Betty Jarman’s legacy is one of compassion, intellect, and adventure. Her impact on her family, friends, and the field of psychology will be felt for generations to come. She will be dearly missed, but her memory will forever shine brightly in our hearts.

If you knew Betty, you know she likes a good party! Family, friends, associates, colleagues, and anyone whose life has been touched by Betty are welcome to celebrate her on Sunday, December 3rd. Please reach out to her family or friends, or email [email protected] for location details.