Neighbor remembers Dora Verdugo's final days
Dora Verdugos 100th birthday in 1982 was celebrated at many events. One of them was a simple party at her home at 226 W. Elk Ave., where she had lived for many years. (Courtesy Special Collections, Glendale Public Library)
But she also is remembered by some simply as the woman who lived down the street. Roy Tomlin, who has lived on West Elk Avenue most of his life, is one of them.
“Dora moved here in 1936, when she was 54 years old,” he said. “She moved from her home on Verdugo Avenue into a house owned by George Hutchinson, who had worked for her in earlier years.”
The Tomlin family became very close to Verdugo.
“My mother considered Dora her West Coast mother,” Tomlin said.
When Roy and his sister were young, they went to Verdugo’s house after school, staying until their mother came home from work.
As Roy Tomlin got older, he sometimes drove Verdugo to services at Holy Family Catholic Church at Elk and Louise streets.
“In the 1950s and ’60s she was a regular attendee,” Tomlin said, “but as she got older she couldn’t walk very far and only went on special occasions or when she felt up to it.
“When I graduated from Glendale High in 1970 and went into the Air Force, she had no one to take her, so she didn’t attend very often.”
Tomlin’s mother, Norma, took Verdugo to medical appointments in later years.
“Dora stayed in her house as long as she could, then she went to Chandler Convalescent Hospital,” Tomlin said. “She was there for a year and a half. She kept her memories nearly to the last; her body wore out before her brain.”
Verdugo died at age 102, according to her obituary in the Los Angeles Times, published on April 15, 1984.
Verdugo lies in a family plot at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.
“She was buried next to her father,” said Tomlin, one of the pallbearers at her funeral. “There were lots of people at the service—dignitaries, her family, my extended family, the mayor and most of the city council.”
Tomlin’s father, James, was appointed executor of Verdugo’s estate, a complex affair. He had previously been appointed executor of Hutchinson’s estate. Verdugo had inherited one half of the house she lived in from Hutchinson, who died before she did. The other half was to be divided between his nine brothers.
“It was a long, drawn-out process,” Tomlin said. “Nothing was changed until after Dora died.” After Verdugo died, the Tomlins organized estate sales. “We took a couple of pieces of furniture but sold the other things.”
Since the house was vacant, his father suggested that Roy and his wife, Pat, move in.
The young couple lived in Verdugo’s house a year before it was sold to a man who already owned the adjoining property. The two houses shared a common driveway.
“The buyer said he was going to put up an office building, but he eventually sold the two properties to Midas,” he said.