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Betty de Losada: How We Got Our Name

by Judith Lynch

When Betty de Losada died in 2010—her obituary listed her union affiliation, work for the San Francisco Unified School District, and her twenty-year tenure on the Landmarks Board. Betty was also co-founding “mother” of the San Francisco Victorian Alliance, and she made a mark on City Guides too. She coined the name!

It was sometime in November 1977; I was starting a volunteer program for people with day jobs who loved San Francisco, revered our history, and wanted an active role in showing it off. I had a powerful group of advisors including Knox Mellon the State Historic Preservation Officer, Beverly Bubar from the California Historical Society, John Langelier from the Presidio Museum, Bill Koenig from the Fire Department . . . and Betty.

I was already recruiting people for training that would begin in January 1978, and we needed a name other than docents. Around Betty's dining room table on Hill Street we shouted out possibilities: Quickwalkers, Walkabouts, City Knickers (we were all going to get monogrammed underwear), Roustabouts, Lowgear Hillclimbers, Friends of Frisco; Befriend a Hill. . . and on and on. Then City Guides popped out of Betty’'s mouth!

Judith Lynch started City Guides in 1978 and was coordinator until 1982. Currently retired from teaching Grade 1 in Alameda, she volunteers for Friends of the Library and the Preservation Society and teaches year round classes in local architecture and history.

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