Loraine V. Ronka, co-founder of the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra and mother of former Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Ronka, has died at a Canoga Park convalescent hospital. She was 85.
A resident of Woodland Hills, Mrs. Ronka died Sunday of complications of old age, her son said.
Born Loraine Vera Aalbu on March 31, 1905, in Minneapolis, Minn., she traveled the country from the late 1920s to the late 1930s, performing in vaudeville with her siblings under the name of The Four Albee Sisters. The group appeared in two 1937 films, “Young Man of Manhattan” and “Turn Off The Moon.”
In 1945, she and her husband, Ilmari, who had been first-chair trombone for the NBC Symphony Orchestra, moved to California, where they co-founded the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra. The professional orchestra, originally consisting mainly of studio musicians, had its first season in 1946.
Mrs. Ronka, who had played the piano in her sisters’ vaudeville act, also was the pianist for a San Fernando Valley-based women’s chorus called the Velvetones during the early 1950s.
She later became a familiar sight outside markets in Sunland and Sun Valley, campaigning for her son in the City Council election of 1977.
She is survived by her husband of 49 years; son Bob of Calabasas; sister Harriet Hodge of Bal Harbour, Fla.; and a grandson, Eric Ronka of Calabasas.
Services will be private. Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, is handling the arrangements. Donations can be made in Mrs. Ronka’s name to the American Diabetes Assn. or the City of Hope.