Betty Jane Gilroy
Betty Jane Gilroy August 24, 1956 – May 9, 2022. We are devastated to announce that Betty Jane Gilroy, age 65, of Vista, California passed away on Monday, May 9, 2022, at her home in Vista. Betty left us and joined her creator after a valiant battle with cancer. She leaves a huge hole in the hearts of her family and friends who were blessed by her strong faith, empathy, and generosity. Betty was born on August 24, 1956 to Marie and Royal Henson in Merrill, Wisconsin alongside her twin brother Robert (Bob) Henson; she was the youngest of 8 children. Betty graduated Merrill High School with the Class of 1975 and soon after moved to Madison, Wisconsin where she attended the graphic arts program at Madison Area Technical College. In the years following her education she lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she sought artistic and musical inspiration. Eventually the call of the West led her to Carson City, Nevada where she united with her best friend and loyal companion, a german shepard she named Dobie. Betty and Dobie would live together in Nevada for several years while Betty played guitar with local rock bands. She was nearing her 30’s when she moved with Dobie to Los Osos, California and met her future husband Harris Gilroy; they married in 1985 in Oceanside, California. It was also in 1985 that Betty was saved and began building a relationship with Jesus Christ. In 1990 Betty and Harris moved into the house that would be their home for the next 30 years in Vista, California and in 1991 Betty and Harris had their only daughter, Genesis. Betty chose to forego a career in lieu of being an exceptional stay-at-home mom. Even so, Betty managed to produce an abundance of art in the years that she stayed home with her daughter. She became well known throughout Southern California as a muralist and photorealistic artist. Betty would spend the next several decades commissioned to paint cultural and creative murals, glaze custom ceramic tiles, and paint windows on private and public properties across the county. Betty received many first place awards at the Exhibition of Fine Art at the Del Mar Fair and much of her work was displayed and sold in local art galleries. Betty also played an active role in purging her community of crime. She led her local neighborhood watch organization and volunteered years and many hours of work organizing the patrol and reporting of local crimes which greatly impacted the health and safety of surrounding neighborhoods. Betty was musically talented and loved playing guitar and singing. She led worship groups at numerous Church venues and also led the children’s choir at Calvary Chapel. At her core, Betty was an outdoors woman and lover of nature. She enjoyed yearly camping trips with her family and she spent much of her free time gardening and bird watching. Betty’s foremost goal in life was to inspire faith in her family and to equip them with the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Betty’s faith shown like a beacon and her fruit of the spirit nourished not only her family, but all those she came in contact with. Betty’s generosity especially extended to those she crossed paths with that were in need. She would regularly identify elderly and homeless individuals in need of clothing, supplies, or companionship, and she would meet those needs without hesitation. The 38 years Betty spent living in San Diego County were filled with family, faith, music, art and camping. The final years she lived leading up to her diagnosis were the best, most enriched of her life. She is forever loved and cherished by those she left behind.
Betty was preceded in death by her father Royal Henson, her mother Marie (Schmidt) Henson, her twin brother Robert Henson, and sisters Kathleen Henson and Carol (Smith) Hintz. She is survived by her husband Harris Gilroy, her daughter Genesis (Gilroy) Gordon, son-in-law Bryan Gordon, sister Linda (Smith) Forney, sister Christine (Henson) Knauer (Fred), brother John Henson (Brenda), brother Richard Henson (Judy), and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
No immediate funeral is planned. A memorial service will be held in the near future and Betty’s family will notify loved ones when a date is scheduled. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be gifted in Betty’s name to Haven, a Merrill women’s shelter or to MAC Home, a local warming shelter for the homeless. A special thank you to Lightbridge Hospice for their care and support shown to Betty and her family during her last days.