The Honorable Betty Sutro, San Francisco and Napa Valley

Betty Sutro at Sutro Ranch in Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, California. Painting and Photo 2011 © Ingrid C. Lockowandt

Betty Sutro was 100 years old when she commissioned me in 2011 to paint her rescued Labrador retriever, Dusty. During the process, she invited me a few time to Sutro Ranch, her Napa Valley estate and into her distinguished historic mansion in San Francisco Presidio Heights, built in 1935 by architect William Wurster – with a breathtaking view over the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. Betty and her family enjoyed the ranch for over 50 years as a weekend and summer retreat before she donated 1,380 acres to Land Trust to become a preserve — the second-largest land gift of its kind. It’s a testament to Betty’s generosity and one of many reasons I so enjoyed collaborating artistically with her.

We enjoyed each other’s company and it was fascinating listening to her stories about the history of  San Francisco. Her late husband, John Sutro, was the grandchild of Adolf Sutro, a prominent and well-known San Francisco pioneer family.

Betty told me that she treasured and loved the portrait. She passed in August 2012 and will be missed and remembered for her extraordinary caring and generosity, as well as for the lasting impact she made on so many different people. Betty was a gracious, giving lady, and it was such an honor and pleasure getting to know her. And her beloved Dusty was a heartwarming portraiture subject.