Friday, November 30, 2018

Juanita Lovret and Don Tryon

Orange County recently lost two more excellent local historians: Don Tryon of San Juan Capistrano and Juanita Lovret of Tustin.

I only spoke to Lovret briefly once or twice, but I've cited her articles many times. In addition to retelling important but oft-told tales, she also frequently and commendably delved into corners of Tustin's past that no one else had ever tackled. Lovret's fellow Tustin historian, Guy Ball, writes:

"It is with regret and sadness that [I] report Juanita Lovret’s passing recently at age 92.

"Juanita lived in the Tustin area her entire life, taught at Tustin High, was Tustin Woman of the Year in 1996 and was very active in the Tustin Area Historical Society. Juanita also wrote a weekly column ["Remember When"] in the Tustin News for many years and wrote two books about Tustin history.

"Her columns in the Tustin News focused on growing up in early Tustin as well as the earlier histories of so many of our leaders, institutions, and buildings. The [Tustin Area Historical] Society has republished a good number of her columns at

"Details about a public memorial gathering will be forthcoming. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the [Tustin Area] Historical Society in Juanita’s memory. The family has also asked for people who knew her to send letters or cards to them describing their favorite memories of Juanita. These cards and letters can be mailed to: Remembering Juanita Lovret – c/o 13711 Yorba Street – North Tustin CA 92705."

Another great loss to our historical community this month was the passing of Don Tryon, who was always my "go-to guy" at the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. No study of a Capistrano-related topic was complete without a call to Don to see if he had more on the subject. He was always friendly and helpful. Don co-authored the book Images of America, San Juan Capistrano and wrote the regular "Old San Juan" column for The Capistrano Dispatch. His obituary from the Orange County Register follows:

"Don [Tryon] was born and lived most of his life in California, working primarily in the oil industry and raising a family. In retirement, he and his late wife, Mary Tryon, moved to San Juan Capistrano where they became active with the Historical Society, Mission Archeological team, and Fiesta Association.

From about 1990-2015, Don was the Archivist for the Historical Society, preserving the photographic legacy of San Juan Capistrano. During his tenure, the collection grew to over 9,000 photos. Don also served as a Cultural Heritage Commissioner, served on the County Historic Commission, was a Kiwanis; a longtime Chamber of Commerce member, and was a writer of historic facts and stories for various local newspapers. Don was selected as the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce 1999 Man of the Year and was commended in 2000 by the California Legislature for his exemplary record of civic leadership.

Don is survived by his wife since 2009, Penny, by his children Gail and Michael, and four grandchildren. [Ed - He was also married to Mary Ellen Tryon for 58 years until her death in 2008.] In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the San Juan Historical Society Building Fund,"

Goodbye to two more of the good ones.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Autumnal Updates

Irvine Park, circa 1920s. (Don Dobmeier Postcard Collection)
The good folks at Preserve Orange County asked if I'd add a link to their (very impressive) website on links roster. That made me realize that I hadn't updated those links in at least a year. So, after much weeding, pruning, and updating, the links on the right-hand side of this page are mostly up-to-date and functional again. Please browse and perhaps discover a few gems you'd missed in the past.

In addition to Preserve O.C., other new additions to the list include the Orange County California History group on Flickr, the Old Courthouse Museum Society, the Yorba Linda Historical Society,, and a link to a sampling of articles from my old "O.C. Answer Man" column at Orange Coast magazine.

By the way, the Rancho Santa Margarita Historical Society seems to have fallen off the radar. Does anyone know if they're still active?