Artist an inspiration to many
Like wind-sown seeds of manzanita and ponderosa pine, remnants of Rebecca Habblett’s life and art are scattered across the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
“She just touched the lives of so many people,” said her daughter, Elizabeth Habblett.
Rebecca “Becky” (Gallino) Habblett died at her home in Alta Sierra Dec. 24 following a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 50.
Glimpses, bits and pieces, a wood carving or quilt left here and there – “Becky” was an artistic soul and caring person who left little parts of herself behind in the lives of the people she knew and loved.
“I’m not even sure she was aware of the affect she had on people,” said William Habblett, her husband of nearly 30 years…. “Even in the way she died, she was an inspiration.”
Becky Habblett enjoyed wood carving, tole painting dried gourds, quilting, and hand crafting assorted Christmas decorations. She sold her hand-crafted wares during Cornish Christmas in front of Beitz Jewelers for more than 10 years and won numerous ribbons at the Nevada County Fair.
Born Aug. 8, 1952 at the old Jones Hospital in Grass Valley, to William “Bill” and Dorene Gallino – Becky, her mother said, was always talented, even as a little girl.
“And it just grew as she got older,” Dorene Gallino said.
Becky loved Christmas and created beautiful wood carvings and gourd paintings of Santas, recalled Gail Beitz.
“I have quite a collection and will cherish them forever,” Beitz said. “She was a wonderful, wonderful person and we’re going to miss her a lot.”
Becky saved her most prized arts and handicrafts for her family, her mother said.
“I just told her when we knew she was going that we’d never forget her because my house is just full of the things she made,” Gallino said. “The Santas she carved sit on my mantle and I never take them down.”
Becky was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2000 and later underwent a double mastectomy.
But Becky never reflected on the negative and did her best to help the people around her deal with her disease, her daughter Elizabeth said.
“When she came out of remission this June, she sent us all sympathy cards to help us through the hard times,” Elizabeth said…. “That’s just the way she was.”
Becky was a Girl Scout leader for Troop 269 in Alta Sierra from 1988 to 1993 and was active as a volunteer in the annual Relay For Life and La Loba breast cancer support group.
Becky and Irene Hall were co-captains at last summer’s Relay For Life for a local team made up of breast cancer survivors.
“She just kept a smile through it all,” Hall said. “She was a very creative and artistic person and was always looking at the positive side and wanted to support people who were going through it too.”
Hall said she promised Becky that the ‘Women Walking Abreast’ team would do the Relay next summer in her honor.
“‘Women Walking Abreast’ is the name (Becky) came up with,” Hall recalled. “When we walk the Relay, we walk side-by-side. We help each other out and hold each other up.”
“The thing I saw with Beck is that she always held out hope, always the possibility for a miracle,” Hall added. “When she realized that it wasn’t going to happen for her, she was still positive and knew she was going to a better place. She wasn’t in a lot of pain so she was able to stay Becky the whole time.”
Becky was a second generation native of Nevada County and graduated from Nevada Union High School in 1970.
After graduation she attended Sierra College studying liberal arts.
For the last 18 years, she worked as office manager for Jeanne M. Archer, DC, in Nevada City.
Though no service is planned, a celebration of life will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall in Grass Valley.
Becky is survived by her husband, William Habblett of Grass Valley; daughters, Elizabeth Habblett of Grass Valley and Christina Habblett of Santa Monica; parents, Bill and Dorene Gallino of Grass Valley; sister, Cathy Wasley of Grass Valley; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother Peter Gallino in 1999.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Foothills, 12399 Nevada City Highway, Grass Valley 95945 or Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation Cancer Center Fund, P.O. Box 1810, Grass Valley, 95945.
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