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FEBRUARY 8, 2005

Castle View teacher, 62, died in car crash

RIVERSIDE: Bette Pinkerton, a retired educator, 
expected the best from her students


RIVERSIDE--When Kiel Fisher was drafted to play ball for the Philadelphia Phillies, he was asked to name a woman who had made a difference in his life. For Fisher, it was a no-brainer.

"He listed Mrs. Pinkerton," Gretchen Fisher, Kiel's mother, said Monday. "Mrs. Pinkerton didn't just teach the academic subjects. She was concerned with character education as well."

On Monday, friends, colleagues and parents of former students at Castle View Elementary School in Riverside Remembered Bette Pinkerton as a top-notch teacher who expected the best from her students but tempered those expectations with patience and a caring nature.

Mrs. Pinkerton, 62, died Thursday afternoon in a traffic accident that injured her husband, Dale. Kathi Gibeault, a family spokeswoman, said Dale Pinkerton was scheduled to be released from Riverside Community Hospical on Monday.

Riverside police Sgt. Duane Beckman said last week that the Pinkertons' 1998 Toyota Camry swerved into opposing traffic lanes and then down an embankment in the 600 block of Central Avenue. The investigation is continuing.

Mrs. Pinkerton worked for the Riverside Unified School District from 1978 until her retirement in 2003.

Bette Pinkerton

Although she taught at Castle View for many of those years, she also taught at Alcott Elementary School, Pachappa Elementary School and at Gage Middle School. She was Castle View's Teacher of the Year for the 1997-98 school year.

"She was just a wonderful teacher, person and friend," said Fisher, who knew Mrs. Pinkerton first as a parent and then as a colleague when she became a teacher.

After retirement, Mrs. Pinkerton threw herself into a remodeling project at her home, spent time with friends and devoted herself to her three grandchildren.

"She was very, very active in her grandchildren's lives," Fisher said.

Peter Atkinson, a professor of entomology at UC Riverside, said his 12-year-old daugher, Amanda, was in Mrs. Pinkerton's 5th grade class in the 2002-2003 school year.

"She was very professional, very meticulous and very caring," Atkinson said. "Everything you would want from a first-class teacher."

Atkinson said Mrs. Pinkerton told students frequently how much she was looking forward to retirement.

"That made it especially sad to hear about her premature death in such a way," Atkinson said.

Details about funeral services are pending.


Reach Sandra Stokley at (951) 368-9647 or sstokley@pe.com