News, notes and follow-ups

Category: local history

Robert S. Chandler, National Park Service veteran, to be honored Saturday


A memorial tribute to Robert S. Chandler, the first superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas.

Ranch site tours will begin at 1 p.m. and an outdoor Chumash blessing will be held at 2:30. A reception will begin at 4:30.

For reservations, which must be made by 3:30 p.m. Friday, call (805) 370-2344.

A tribute page for Chandler, who died Dec. 23 at age 74, is at


Obituary: Robert S. Chandler dies at 74; National Park Service veteran

--Dennis McLellan

Photo: Robert S. Chandler in the Santa Monica Mountains in 1979. Credit: Los Angeles Times

One year ago: Roy Edward Disney


Roy Edward Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, was so committed to his uncle's creative spirit that he mounted revolts that led to the unseating of two of the company's chief executives who he felt were leading the company astray. He died one year ago at age 79.

As chairman of Disney animation, Disney helped guide the studio to a new golden age of animation with an unprecedented string of artistic and box-office successes that included "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King."

But it was a long road to those successes. After 20 years of working on nature films for the studio, he quit in 1977 when he was denied a larger role in the company after the death of his uncle Walt and his father, Roy O. Disney. He remained on its board as a director but was largely a figurehead.

Disney went on to partner with lawyer Stanley Gold and became a successful financier through Shamrock Holdings, where he built up wealth to ease his reliance on his inherited Disney stock.

When he had accumulated enough money and influence independent of Disney, he made his move against the company that had increasingly frustrated him. He quit the Disney board in 1984, causing a stock turmoil that led the unseating of the company's management. Using his influence, Disney was able to bring in a whole new management team led by Michael Eisner.

The victory was short-lived. Tensions began building between Disney and Eisner when the company's president and chief operating officer, Frank Wells, died in 1994, leaving Eisner solely in control of the company. In 2003, Disney called for Eisner's resignation, saying the company had come to be perceived as "rapacious, soul-less and always looking for the 'quick buck' rather than long-term value." Eisner resigned in 2005.

Disney initially fought the hiring of Eisner's successor, Robert A. Iger, but relented when Iger made peace, offering Disney an office at the company's Burbank studios, a consultancy and the title "director emeritus."

Despite wealth estimated at $600 million, Disney remained shy and outwardly unpretentious, according to people who knew him. He also was involved in several philanthropic activities, including serving on the board of trustees of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he helped carry out the dream of Walt and his father to build and sustain a top arts college in Southern California.

For much more on his turbulent career, creative passion and the sometimes tense drama within his family, read Roy Edward Disney's obituary by The Times. Also, view a photo gallery of his life.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Roy Disney, in the Shamrock Center in Burbank on December 1, 2003. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Southern California economist Jack Kyser dies at 76

KyserJack Kyser, the dean of Los Angeles economists who spoke as an expert on Southern California to media around the world, has died. He was 76.

Kyser had a long career focusing on the workings of the Southern California economy and spoke with authority on a wide range of topics. He was best known as a representative of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Kyser was born in Huntington Park and raised in Downey and Vernon. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a masters of business administration from USC.

With the exception of a forecasting stint in Omaha for Union Pacific Railroad, Kyser spent his career focusing on the workings of the Southern California economy. He worked for United California Bank and spent eight years as an economist with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Kyser joined the LAEDC in 1991, when it had no economics research department. Today, the department has five full-time staff members. The LAEDC named its research center after Kyser, whom it started calling a "founding economist," in 2008.

A full obituary will follow at

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Jack Kyser


One year ago: Avery Clayton


Avery Clayton grew up paying little attention to the bits of African American history his librarian mother, Mayme Clayton, enjoyed collecting.

It wasn't until later that he realized the significance of what she had amassed.

"Her part was to assemble the collection. I really believe my part is to bring it to the world," Avery Clayton said, explaining his intention to establish the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in Culver City.

The collection features rare books, manuscripts, photographs, films and other documents and artifacts. Some of the items were displayed at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino in an exhibit called "Central Avenue and Beyond: The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles,"  which opened last year.

"Most African American history is hidden," Avery Clayton, who co-curated the exhibit, told The Times in 2007. "What's exciting about this is that we're going to bring it back and show that black culture is rich and varied."

Clayton, a 62-year-old retired art teacher, died suddenly on Thanksgiving Day, one year ago. Read the complete Times obituary, and to learn more about the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, visit its website,

-- Claire Noland


Photo: Avery Clayton in 2009 at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, where the exhibit "Central Avenue and Beyond: The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles" was on display from October 2009 to February 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Jose H. Rodriguez, chef-owner of Mexican seafood restaurant La Serenata di Garibaldi, dies at 76 [Updated]


Jose H. Rodriguez, the chef-owner of La Serenata de Garibaldi, one of the most celebrated Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, has died. He was 76.

[For the record, 11:07 a.m. Nov. 24: An earlier version of this post said Rodriguez was born in 1933 and was 77 when he died. In fact, he was born in 1934 and was 76.]

Rodriguez died of heart failure Monday at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, said his brother, Jorge.

Soon after the restaurant opened in Boyle Heights in 1985, The Times reviewed it beneath a headline that declared: “Mexican Treasure in East L.A.” Crowds soon followed, his brother said.

In a September review marking the restaurant’s 25th anniversary, Times critic S. Irene Virbila noted that it was “love at first bite” when she first tasted the establishment's Mexican seafood in the mid-1990s.

Born in 1934 in Torreon, Mexico, Rodriguez was the eldest of eight children. He started learning the restaurant business in the 1950s in Juarez and the next decade moved to Los Angeles, where he waited tables at fine restaurants.

With his wife, Aurora, he opened La Serenata de Garibaldi. Two other locations, in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, followed.

“What Nobu Matsuhisa is to Japanese cooking, chef/owner Jose Rodriguez is to Mexican: a genie of sauces,” Virbila wrote in The Times in 2000 when the Boyle Heights location reopened after it was remodeled.

His “remarkable repertoire,” another Times reviewer wrote in 1985, included fish quesadillas, an exceptional mahi-mahi enchilada and an impressive chicken mole.

A complete obituary will follow.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: The dining room at La Serenata di Garibaldi. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

One year ago: Nao Takasugi

Takasugi Nao Takasugi was a Republican state Assemblyman, an Oxnard mayor and held an MBA. He also was sent with his family to an internment camp during World War II. Takasugi died one year ago at age 87.

At the internment camp, he earned $16 a month as a Spanish and business tutor, he told The Times in 2003, and his family ate slices of Spam for a "Sunday treat."

He left the camp after several months when a Quaker organization offered Takasugi the chance to complete his business degree (which he began at UCLA) at Temple University in Philadelphia.

His career success dissuaded him from dwelling on the negative internment camp experience.

"I don't feel angry anymore," he told the Ventura County Star in 2002. "In spite of all the shortcomings of this country, it's still a great country. Where else can you come from a concentration camp and become the mayor?"

For more, read Nao Takasugi's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Nao Takasugi. Credit: Alan Hagman / Los Angeles Times

One year ago: John Scolinos

Scolinos John Scolinos was a Southern California baseball coach at Pepperdine University and Cal Poly Pomona who left a behind a much-heralded legacy of victory. He died one year ago at age 91.

Scolinos coached 14 seasons (1946-1960) at Pepperdine before becoming head coach at Pomona in 1962. There, he turned the program into a powerhouse, winning Division II national championships in 1976, 1980 and 1983.

He also won six California College Athletic Assn. championships and was named Division II coach of the year three times.

He retired in 1991 with a combined 1,198 victories and was inducted into the American Assn. of Collegiate Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1974.

"The good thing about coaching in a college atmosphere, a good atmosphere like this, is that it's constantly changing," Scolinos told The Times in 1987. "The kids keep it interesting. Every season is like a new life cycle."

Before coaching, Scolinos played semipro baseball and served in the Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1945.

For more on the baseball coach, read John Scolinos' obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: John Scolinos in 1987. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

One year ago: John Harris Burt


John Harris Burt was a rector at Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal Church who was known for his outspoken support of the civil rights movement during the days of Martin Luther King Jr.'s crusade. Burt died one year ago at age 91.

Burt helped organize massive civil rights rallies in Los Angeles in the 1960s, including a 1963 event in South Los Angeles that attracted 30,000 people. He also was a vocal supporter of Cesar Chavez and the farm workers movement. 

BurtTwice Burt sat behind King while he addressed crowds of thousands in L.A. -- once in 1963 at South L.A.'s Wrigley Field (now demolished), and a year later at the Coliseum

Burt was one of four rectors "who really shaped All Saints to be a peace-and-justice church," said Rector J. Edwin Bacon, who currently leads the Pasadena church, which is known for the strong stands its clergy has taken against war, poverty and racial and ethnic discrimination over the last seven decades.

Burt was a Navy chaplain during World War II and afterward served at St. John's Episcopal Church in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1978, after leaving Pasadena to serve as bishop of Ohio, he earned the prestigious Thomas Merton Award for his advocacy to keep steel plants open in Youngstown, an effort that ultimately failed.

For more on his life and causes, read John Harris Burt's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Upper photo: The Rev. John Burt, seated at fourth from the left, listens as Martin Luther King Jr. addresses 15,000 people at the Coliseum during an interfaith rally in 1964. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Burt in Ohio. Credit: Episcopal Diocese of Ohio

One year ago: Marian L. Gore

Marian Gore

What Marian L. Gore sold, she told The Times in 1974, was nostalgia.

The antiquarian bookseller, who died a year ago at 95, specialized in historic tomes about food and wine. From 1967 through 1991, she sold them out of her San Gabriel home.

"Favorite Recipes of Our Friends" by the Cafeteria Club at St. Gabriel School might sell for $10, while Abby Fisher's 1881 "What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking" could go for $2,100.

Young people particularly "feel it must have been better then -- it had to be better. They buy these books out of a feeling of nostalgia," Gore once said, "sort of relishing of the qualities of a world where people did not operate by shortcuts."

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Marian L. Gore in 1974 with a selection of early California cookbooks. Credit: Times file photo




One year ago: Carol Tomlinson-Keasey

Tomlinson-keaseyCarol Tomlinson-Keasey shattered a glass ceiling when she was named to head UC Merced in 1999 before the campus broke ground. No woman had been a founding chancellor of a UC campus. She died one year ago from complications from her eight-year battle with breast cancer.

The founding of UC Merced was riddled with complications, including a site change and a reduction in the size of the campus because of environmental concerns, political leaders who called the campus a "boondoggle" and a state budget crisis that resulted in a one-year delay in its opening.

Tomlinson-Keasey was part of the UC system for almost 30 years. She began as an associate professor of psychology at UC Riverside in 1977, and in the 1990s served at UC Davis in provost positions and as dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. She moved to the UC Office of the President in 1997.

Tomlinson-Keasey, who was a distinguished developmental psychologist, wrote three books and dozens of articles, monographs and book chapters on subjects such as child and full-life development and how gifted children realize their cognitive potential.

For more on her life and involvement in the founding of UC Merced, read Carol Tomlinson-Keasey's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. Credit: Noah Berger

One year ago: Pierre Cabrol

Pierre-cabrol Pierre Cabrol was a French-born architect with Welton Becket & Associates who was the lead designer for the Cinerama Dome, the landmark theater now operated by ArcLight.

The Sunset Boulevard theater, completed in 1963, was based on the geodesic dome concept conceived by architect R. Buckminster Fuller. But instead of using the typical aluminum or glass, the Cinerama Dome is the only one made of concrete.

The theater has 316 interlocking hexagons that form its dome shell and can accomodate more than 800 guests who view an 86-by-32-foot curved screen.

Cabrol also was the lead designer on other significant projects by Welton Becket, including the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, the General Electric Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair and the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

After 30 years with the firm, Cabrol retired from Welton Brecket and worked independently as an architect and landscape architect from 1988 to 1995.

For more, read Pierre Cabrol's obituary by The Times, and see a 1963 photo of the Cinerama dome being constructed.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Pierre Cabrol. Credit: Family photo

Memorial service planned for Betty Lou Young

Betty A public outdoor memorial service for Betty Lou Young, a longtime resident of Rustic Canyon who wrote books about the history of Pacific Palisades and campaigned to save the Santa Monica Mountains and other open spaces from development, will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at Los Liones Canyon. Young, who died July 1 at age 91, was instrumental in developing a park there.

Her books included "Our First Century: The Los Angeles Athletic Club," "Pacific Palisades: Where the Mountains Meet the Sea" and "Santa Monica Canyon: A Walk Through History." Her son, Randy Young (credited as Thomas R. Young), was often co-author and photographer.

In 1975 Betty Lou Young founded Casa Vieja Press.

-- Martha Groves

Photo: Betty Lou Young in 2000


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