The world has lost another member of what Tom Brokaw, former NBC “Nightly News” anchor, called “the greatest generation.” Alvena Dobbings,, a 50-year resident of La Cañada, died at her home on March 21, 2008. A loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend, she will be missed by those who knew and loved her.

Born in Wyoming on May 12, 1918, Alvena was raised in Fresno. She worked in the shipyards during World War II and then returned to Fresno where she started a beach resort on the San Joaquin River. After that venture sold, she worked at Ace Service until her marriage to Leslie W. Dobbings in 1957. At that time, she moved to La Cañada where she and her husband raised their daughters Sheri and Diana.

Her life was spent making a home for her family, volunteering her time at the Pasadena Child Guidance Clinic Cherub Bin before it closed, and seeing the world with her husband until they were no longer able to travel.

Preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Alvena is survived by her daughters and their husbands; three grandchildren: Nikki Schutz, Ty Hilbert, and Maggie Morton; two great-granddaughters: Alison and Jillian Schutz; and her sister, Elsie Eaton of Fresno.

Services will be held 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 29 at the Mountain View Cemetery, 2400 N. Fairoaks Ave., Altadena. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Alvena and Leslie W. Dobbings Scholarship Fund established in 2005 through the Montrose/La Crescenta Kiwanis Club, P.O. Box 432, Montrose, CA 91020. Both Alvena and Les were firm believers in continuing education. This scholarship fund will help future generations who wish to further their studies.


John Gatewood lost his battle with cancer on March 18, 2008 at the age of 75. He was born in Bell, California and graduated from Bell High School in 1950.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 until 1955 as a shipboard electronics technician achieving the rating of Petty Officer, Second Class.

In 1957 John began working for Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, serving for 37 years. He retired in 1994 as a senior engineering associate.

After marrying his wife, Janice, in 1961, he settled in La Crescenta and began raising his family.

He is survived by Janice, his three children, his stepson and his three grandchildren.

John was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed water and snow skiing, hiking, biking, sailing and tennis. He loved to travel and driving across the country in his motor home. John was a creator, mechanic, builder and friend, always willing to lend a hand when needed. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 5 at 9:30 a.m. at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada followed by a reception luncheon.

Directions to the luncheon will be available at the service. Those who prefer to make a donation in lieu of flowers may do so to Children’s Hospital, Oakland, California.

For further information, please call Greek Family Mortuary Alameda, (510) 865-3755.


Born Sept. 22, 1920 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He grew up in Glendale and graduated from Glendale High School, then attended Glendale College. He was a fighter pilot in WWII. He retired from Pacific Telephone after 37 years.

He was married for 58 years to his wife Marion Helen Ryan. They have resided in their home in La Crescenta for all 58 years.

He is survived by his wife, Marion; daughter Terry and son-in-law Terry Kappen from La Crescenta; granddaughter Tracy Kappen of San Diego; grandson Travis Kappen of Montrose; and brother Tom Ryan of Placentia.

He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend and neighbor. He was always available to give a helping hand. He will be greatly missed by all.

No services are planned.


Jean MacDonald joined her loving husband Gordon in heaven on March 25, a week after her 94th birthday. She passed away in her Glendale home where she had lived for 52 years.

Born March 18, 1914 in Boyle Heights Los Angeles, Jean was a devoted wife, a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher and a generous volunteer. She grew up and lived in La Crescenta and later in Glendale.

After graduating from Glendale High School, she attended and graduated from U.C.L.A with a degree in teaching.

On July 17, 1937, Jean married Gordon MacDonald in the Church of the Lighted Window in La Cañada. After Gordon concluded his naval service in World War II, they bought their first house in La Crescenta. They later built their dream home in 1956 in Whiting Woods, Glendale, where they raised their three sons, Scott, Tim, and Brett.

Jean was once active as PTA president of Lincoln Elementary and as the first PTA president of Crescenta Valley High School. She was a member of the Las Candelas Auxillary for more than 53 years and also a member of the Oakmont Country Club for over 50 years. One of Jean’s proudest achievements was being the longest living member of the La Crescenta Presbyterian Church where her father was an early participant. She was very fond of her minister, Andy Wilson, and her church.

Jean was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 37 yearsin 1973. She is survived by her three sons: Scott, Tim (Kathy), Brett ( Nancy), and her eleven grandchildren. Also, her family wishes to thank Jean’s four angels, her caregivers, Alma, Dora, Silvia, and Virginia.

Jean will be missed by family, friends and community. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to La Crescenta Presbyterian Church, 2902 Montrose Ave., La Crescenta.

Services will be held at La Crescenta Presbyterian Church at noon on Saturday, March 29.

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