To many, Betty Scalice was a philanthropist and community advocate. To those who knew her well, she was also a Scrabble champion who loved a good garage sale. To all whose lives she touched with her generosity and love, she will be deeply missed.
Scalice passed away at 87 on Feb. 4 inside her home on Marview Lane, which she had lived in since the 1950s, when she and her husband built it.
“She lived and breathed that house,” recalls granddaughter Rebekah Tennis. “One of her biggest desires was to be there until her dying day, and I am so glad she was able to be. She loved that home fiercely.”
There is perhaps only one other place in Solana Beach that she loved nearly as much: Fletcher Cove Park.
“She would drive down there — or, as she put it, her car would drive itself down there — and sit and watch the children play at the park, and the families,” Tennis said. “She felt if something as good as Fletcher Cove was going on in the world, then it couldn’t be all bad.”
It was at that very park she loved so much where several of the community concerts that she funded took place. Through the donation of a house to the Coastal Community Foundation, a charitable fund was established to enhance music programs for kids, including the summer concerts at Fletcher Cove Park.
“Betty told me how much she loved Solana Beach and our oceanfront community, and that she just loved Fletcher Cove Park,” said Coastal Community Foundation advisory board member and Solana Beach councilman Dave Roberts, who recalls talking to Scalice at one of these concerts, where she was able to see for herself all the kids enjoying the music.
“She also told me how she had met [Solana Beach] councilman Mike Nichols during his first campaign for city council and when she learned that he had helped design Fletcher Cove Park, she loved him, too, for his creativity. Betty will be greatly missed by Solana Beach, but her fund at the Coastal Community Foundation will carry her memory forward with more summer concerts sponsored at Fletcher Cove Park.”
“Betty loved music and was always looking for ways to keep music in our community and schools,” added Coastal Community Foundation advisory board member and Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Joe Kellejian when he publicly recognized her passing during the Feb. 9 Solana Beach City Council meeting.
Her effort to share the gift of music with children is fitting considering those are two of the things she loved most in life.
“Grandma sensed the inseparable relationship between the growth and health of a child’s mind and their connection to the arts,” Tennis explained. “She had strong memories of the people who had made a difference in her life, like Miss Wilson, her second grade teacher who originally inspired her to appreciate music and understand its part in an overall education. She wanted to be a help to her fellow man, as she had been helped — specifically children who could not otherwise afford it. Nothing too big, nothing monumental: Just little things here and there, like paying for kids to go to a symphony, or buying sheet music for a class that could not otherwise afford it. Things like this she has been doing for years and years, even before the [Coastal Community Foundation]. Grandma was a firm believer in paying it forward.”