Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Bettina Smith Sonderegger

Sept. 18, 1926 – Dec. 26, 2023


Last updated 2/15/2024 at 11:52am

Bettina (Betts/Betty) Smith Sonderegger, 97, of Cotuit, MA and Borrego Springs, CA passed away at her Borrego Springs home on December 26, 2023.

Her parents were Roland Smith and Dorothy Simonds Smith, both of Weymouth, MA.

She attended Weymouth schools and summered in Cotuit.

Betty married Carl Sonderegger of West Roxbury and Cotuit on June 12, 1948, and they were married in Porter Methodist Church in East Weymouth. Betty and Carl resided in Pelham, MA for many years, where Betty worked in marketing and public relations. Their love of travel had them spending many Summers in Switzerland near Carl's family homestead and Winters on the island of Grenada. Betty and Carl later bought a Winter home in Borrego Springs, CA where they spent many wonderful years together. After Carl's death in December of 2000, she continued to enjoy Borrego Springs and the wonderful friends she had there. Betty chose their Borrego home to be the last place on earth she would be.

In 2005, after losing his wife, Anne, Leo Buckley and Betty, who had already been friends, formed a very deep friendship and became life partners. Leo was an accomplice when Betty decided to buy herself her first boat, a motorized pontoon boat, no less, for her 80th birthday.

In addition, Betty became an integral part of Leo's family. Embracing son Evans Buckley (Ann) and daughter Laura Benward (John). She was beloved "Miss Betty" to Leo's grandchildren Mitchell and Mason Buckley, Jessica Orth (Danno), Avery Pesce and great grandchildren Tuckerman and Kaylee Orth.

She was always the first to jump off the boat to dig clams at Sampson's Island, climb up on a fire truck to ride around Barnstable and lead the pack on a desert excursion sitting in the passenger seat of an Army truck.

All people die but not everyone lives...Betty lived and shared. She was an avid gardener and talented folk artist. For years, Betty and Carl grew rare and exquisite orchids that they brought to flower shows around New England. In the beginning, they displayed the orchids in flower shows and won multiple blue ribbons but it eventually became a business for them and they began selling at various shows.

Betty was a long-time patron of the Cotuit Kettleers and was always given VIP treatment in her reserved spot right behind home plate. The Cape Symphony was another beneficiary of Betty's generosity as was the Cotuit Federated Church where she was a faithful lifelong member of the congregation. She was also a member of the Community United Methodist Church in Borrego Springs, CA.

Betts is predeceased by her uncles, Ralph and Bowdoin Smith. Betty's extended family on Cape Cod included the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren of her late aunt, Rebecca Simonds Peterson of Cotuit, who all still summer and sail in Cotuit, Mashpee and Woods Hole. Betts was also predeceased by her brother Robert Smith and his wife June, of Hanover, MA. Betts leaves cousins, George and Eugenia Peterson, of Wentworth, NH and Marcia Peterson Carsey of Brentwood, CA. She also leaves niece Sheryl Goodrich, husband Ben, and daughter Ashley of Duxbury, MA. Betts is also survived by her nephew Glen Smith of Florida.

Betty received a call from the Lord and she was eager to be received into his loving arms. Best friends, Marcia Dudley and Kimmie and Marco Herrera, helped to prepare her for the meeting. As Marcia says, "Betty has passed quietly into the arms of our loving God, who has literally held her in His arms through this past week. She spoke often of the comfort she felt resting, encircled by His strong embrace. She was pain free and totally at peace as she left on her new adventure. The world has lost one of its brightest lights."