Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ova Darling Betts (1868-1950)

Ova D. Betts and his wife Mamie, from the May 19, 1940 Arizona Independent Republic.

    A one term member of the Arizona State House of Representatives from Maricopa County, Ova Darling Betts would also serve as the Mayor of Glendale, Arizona in addition to his legislative service. A Missourian by birth, Ova D. Betts was born in that state on October 4, 1868, one of five children born to Luther and Sarepta Betts. Little is known of his early life or education. Betts married in New Florence, Missouri on May 20, 1890 to Mamie Holly (1868-1950) and later had five sons: Holly Darling (1892-1963), Faye, Charlie, Carl and William.
   For the majority of his early life Ova Betts resided in Missouri with his family, and during his residency in that state was employed as a telegraph operator by both the Chicago and Alton Railroad Company and the Rio Grande Western Railroad. In 1908 Betts and his family left Missouri for Arizona, eventually settling in Glendale. Shortly after his resettlement Betts took work as an agent with the Sante Fe Railroad and later established himself in the city's business sector, becoming the organizer and owner of the Glendale Ice Company, and remained affiliated with that company for many years. 
   While still attentive to his business activities in Glendale, Betts entered into political life in the mid 1910s when he began a service as a member of the Glendale City Council. He would also serve as a member of the Glendale High School Board for many years and was a past director of the Glendale Grammar School Board. In November 1920 he was elected as one of Maricopa County's representatives to the Arizona State Legislature and would serve in the session of 1921-1923. During his legislative service Betts would pull double duty when he was elected as Mayor of Glendale, serving that position until 1930.
   Following his time in politics Betts would return to his earlier business activities and in 1940 he and his wife Mamie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The couple would later reside in Del Norte, California, and celebrated their 60th anniversary on May 20, 1950. Mamie Holly Betts died five days later at age 82 and Ova survived her by only three months, dying on August 26th at age 81. Both he and his wife were later interred at the Glendale Memorial Park Cemetery.

Ova D. Betts from the 1921 Arizona Legislative Assembly group portrait.

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