Kenneth Robert Betts | Longest-serving Chevron dealer in Bay Area and local benefactor of Fairyland, Oakland Zoo

SF Chronicle

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Kenneth R. Betts, 85, died Monday, September 30, 2019, in Oakland, California. A longtime resident of Oakland and Piedmont, Ken was born on April 27, 1934 in Akron, Ohio. He attended East High and Kent State University, where he studied Business. After moving to California in the 1950’s, Ken began his long career as an owner of Chevron service stations, eventually expanding his enterprises to include car washes and a towing business. Ken Betts Company was selected by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce as small business of the year in 1992.

Ken was a past president of the Montclair Business Association and the Lakeshore Business Association and a member of numerous associations affiliated with services stations, car washes, and towing companies. He received many awards from Chevron, culminating in the 60 Years of Service award, and was the longest serving Chevron dealer in the entire Bay Area.

An astute businessman, Ken was known for his loyalty to his many employees, each one of whom he personally interviewed before hiring. A benefactor of many local nonprofits, Ken served on the board of directors of the Oakland Zoo and of Children’s Fairyland. He also was a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Oakland, the Grandfather’s Club, and the 100 Club. For 63 years, Ken was a Master Mason, Live Oak Lodge #61.

An early member of the Oakland Athletic Club, he enjoyed playing racquetball and jogging around Lake Merritt. A lifelong lover of animals, Ken nurtured his own pets and deeply mourned the passing of each. He also loved travel and, starting in the 1970’s, made many trips abroad. Ken is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carla, and children Linda Boyce, Kent Betts, and Lisa Herrling. One daughter, Kelley, predeceased him. He is also survived by grandchildren Marissa Betts, Ashley Boyce, Michael Boyce, Sean Betts, Dayna Betts, Carson Herrling, Bailey Herrling, and Maggie Herrling, and by great grandchildren Chloe Betts, Jack Betts, Levi Betts, and Alexio Garcia.

A celebration of Ken’s life will be held later in October. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Oakland Zoo ( or the Oakland Rotary (

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13, 2019

One thought on “Kenneth Robert Betts | Longest-serving Chevron dealer in Bay Area and local benefactor of Fairyland, Oakland Zoo

  1. I worked for Ken back in the 70s . He asked me one day about my last name, he. Said he had a friend with the same name in Ohio, I’m from Ohio as well , his friend was my oldest brother. What a small world. Ken was great to work for .

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