Goldenite Corner: Golden High School alumna celebrates 100th birthday

Corinne Westeman
Posted 8/30/23

Rosaline Smith née Bettinger celebrated her 100th birthday Aug. 26 at The Rock Rest Lodge, with more than 150 family members and friends in attendance.

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Goldenite Corner: Golden High School alumna celebrates 100th birthday


Rosaline Smith née Bettinger has enough stories to fill a book.

She grew up in Golden during the Great Depression, graduating from Golden High School in 1941, and later traveled the country and the world with her loved ones. She’s helped restore historic buildings; she’s an avid painter, seamstress, dollmaker and Colorado Rockies fan.

As her daughter Linda Sari said, “There’s nothing she couldn’t do.”

Smith celebrated her 100th birthday Aug. 26 at The Rock Rest Lodge, with more than 150 family members and friends in attendance.

Smith, who grew up on Orion Street near the Rock Rest, said the place has a lot of special memories for her. Most of her family members worked there at some point, and she briefly worked there too. Her sister and brother-in-law also owned it in the 1970s and ‘80s.

And, most importantly, it’s where she met her husband.

In 1947, Smith got off the streetcar with her groceries and stopped at the Rock Rest on her way home. There, she was introduced to an Air Force sergeant, who took on the responsibility of seeing her home. And the rest — as they say — is history.

While the Rock Rest and Golden have changed a lot since her youth, she was happy to celebrate her 100th birthday somewhere that was so special to her.

At her Lakewood home on Aug. 29, Smith shared several stories about growing up in Golden, traveling the world and developing a love for several art forms.

'Nothing she couldn't do'

Smith was born in Stratton, Colorado in 1923, although her family moved to Englewood when she was 2 years old. She was the second-oldest of 10 siblings.

After the family moved to Orion Street when she was in fifth grade, she walked to school in downtown Golden every day. She attended fifth and sixth grades at the North School, where one of her teachers was local icon Gertrude Bell, the namesake of Bell Middle School.

She attended Golden High School at the 10th Street building — now the American Mountaineering Center. Among the classes she took were many that later became irrelevant, she joked, like Latin, bookkeeping, typing and shorthand classes.

She was in the GHS marching band and recalled how the band would march around the flagpole and then down 12th Street to the football field. She was also in the glee club and the acapella choir, and worked at the Golden Waffle Inn her junior and senior years.

At age 14, she started sewing — a passion she’s continued ever since. She initially wanted to be a fashion designer, Sari explained, but was never able to pursue that dream.

However, she’s made clothes for herself, family members and others over the years. In fact, one of her granddaughters wore a dress Smith had made for herself to the 100th birthday party.

“And I never charged a penny for any of it,” Smith said. “I did it because I liked to sew.”

After she met her husband in 1947, the two traveled all over while he was in the Air Force. When he retired in the early 1960s, they moved back to Colorado, settling in Lakewood.

She’d meet monthly with her fellow GHS graduates of 1940 and 1941, and she had many family members locally, including two brothers who were Jefferson County teachers.

After her husband died in 1976, she married Dale Smith from Boulder. The two of them loved doing projects together. They renovated the Art Students League of Denver building at 200 Grant St. in the 1980s, and bought and renovated a historic Leadville home in the 1990s.

“Dale could do anything,” Sari said of her stepdad, who died in 2018.

Throughout her life, Smith has enjoyed dancing and painting. She used to dance all night, saying it helped her build strong bones. She also used to travel frequently to painting conventions across the United States.

In her 100 years, she believed she’s danced and painted all over the world.

Now, along with her four children, 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, one of the things that keeps Smith going is the Colorado Rockies, Sari said.

Smith explained how her father and uncles played baseball in Englewood, and her brothers played at GHS and in college. However, she didn't develop a lasting appreciation for the sport until her grandchildren and great-grandchildren started playing.

As she prepared for her 100th birthday this summer, she expected to have a small gathering at a family home. However, as her son was driving her toward Golden, she learned the truth. She was surprised at how many people attended, thanking her relatives who traveled from all over the country to celebrate the big day with her.

Sari mused over everything her mom’s experienced and accomplished in her 100 years, saying, “She’s had a fabulous life.”

goldenite, corner, golden, high, school, alumna, graduate, class of 1941, 100th, birthday


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