California has a history of being populated with newcomers. So it’s unusual to meet someone like Dianne Endsley, a fourth-generation Californian whose ancestors arrived before the Civil War.
“My family was here before California was a state,” she gleefully admits.
Endsley lives in La Cañada Flintridge, and after successful careers in fashion design and public relations, she now devotes herself to volunteer work in the Glendale community.
For the past 20 years Endsley has been deeply involved in GAR Services. A Glendale institution for more than half a century, GAR Services assists adults with developmental disabilities through various educational programs.
Endsley’s stepson is mentally handicapped, and GAR Services is near where they live, so she said she wanted to do whatever she could to help.
Each May, GAR Services holds its Derby Day fundraiser to coincide with the Kentucky Derby. The money raised at the annual event assists clients with their dental needs, eyeglasses, physical therapy and other areas not covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Endsley serves on the Derby Day Committee, which raised $80,000 in one day last year.
“Dianne’s artistic vision and work help make Derby Day the success that it is,” said Sharon Roth, foundation director of GAR Services and a close friend of Endsley. “She is one of those consistent human beings, always with a smile, always friendly, and always faithful to the cause.”
Endsley is also active with Las Candelas. Founded in 1953, Las Candelas supports emotionally disturbed children with a biennial fashion show and other charitable events. The organization consists of 40 women, all of whom share Endsley’s personal dedication to volunteer work.
“We raise money for Hathaway-Sycamores, Hillsides, Verdugo Mental Health and the Glendale YWCA Domestic Violence Program,” Endsley said. “It’s a group of very busy ladies, all movers and shakers.”
The demands of volunteer work can be exhaustive for most people, but Endsley never seems to tire from it. She’s also the chairwoman of the Community Relations Committee of the Glendale Community College Foundation, a past president of the board for the YWCA, a member of the YMCA, and she still finds time to paint with watercolors and design clothes.
“I’ve had a lot of great things happen to me in my life, so it’s important to give back to the community,” Endsley said. “I’m just inspired every day about what you get back when you give, especially when you go through tragedies in your life, which we all do.”
Endsley is also a proud grandmother and gushes when she talks about her two granddaughters.
“My daughter and my two granddaughters live in Connecticut, but we get together as often as we can. I just love being with my grandchildren,” she said.