At 36, Betts moved from an accounting career in San Diego to manage California's state finances in Sacramento. Betts secured savings for California by encouraging competitive bidding in selling state bonds and posted a solid track record investing the state's money, said his son, Bruce Betts.
"He was very driven to do the right thing and try to make things better," Bruce Betts said. "He was very organized and efficient in trying to do that."
Betts left the state treasurer's office after losing a bid for a third term in 1966, his son said.
After leaving public office, Betts created Bert A. Betts and Associates, a Sacramento-based business that provided bond consulting with three satellite offices across the West Coast.
But Betts did not leave politics completely. He sought public office one last time, running an unsuccessful campaign for state controller in 1974.
Betts was born in La Mesa in 1923 and was a 1950 graduate of California Western University. As a bomber pilot for the Army Air Forces, he flew 30 missions over Europe during World War II and received several accolades for his service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.
"He had a great sense of duty, whether it be World War II or as state treasurer or with his clients in private practice," his son said.
PHOTO: Bert A. Betts poses as California State Treasurer, a position he held from 1959-1967. Photo courtesy of the family.