Tonya Renee Neal (1966-2018)

Tonya Renee NealWas born February 10, 1966 in Cincinnati, Ohio to the union of Clifford Sr., and Lorretta Neal.  As the third child and only girl of this union, Tonya was considered a special little gift to her family.  Her journey into this world was not an easy one, as she suffered with heart issues at birth.  But the Lord must have decided to use her life as another bright and shining light for all to see.  She was a very happy little girl who smiled all the time and loved to dance.  Her brothers lovingly and jokingly teased her at times for her happy antics and nicknamed her (DUCK).  As her parents moved the family from Cincinnati to California, Tonya grew to love and treasure the times when family and friends would come to visit.  She always had a suggestion about where to go (Disney Land).  She loved California and its warm and sunny weather.  She often said, she could have sworn that she was born there, but that Clifford and Lorretta just brought her back to Cincinnati for a while, so that the family could see that she was a girl. 

Her parents introduced her to the Christ and she was baptized at an early age, when the family joined their Aunt Cleo and the congregation of Morning Star Baptist Church, after they relocated to California.

As she matured to a young woman, she met her first real love, so she said, in Rodo Hines, and to this union she gave birth to a son Rodo Hines Jr.  Love and life continued for Tonya, so that she found a new love relationship with Cornell James and a daughter, LaSummer James, was born.  On her journey through life, Tonya later met and married Cornelius Ross, who departed this life early in their marriage. 

With her life journey continuing, her hand in the Lords, Tonya took on the same profession as her late mother Lorretta Neal, and continued fostering children.  She attended Pasadena City College, where she studied to receive her Foster Care Licensing.  She too, loved children and became a homemaker and family caregiver for the State of California Foster Care System.  This allowed her to care for those left behind – Levita Stoode (Michelle), Dalone Duncan, and Davion Rutherford after the passing of her mother.

As her own children (Rodo and LaSummer) came of age, Tonya became a Grandmother, which was truly a joy to her spirit.  To her grandchildren, Tashie Denike Morris, JaTonya Phyllis, Christian Hines, Ryan Hines, Winter Blue Coleman, Rodo Hines III, and Skylar Appetey (deceased), Tonya was affectionately called “GOBBY” by all of them.  They loved her dearly!

On Friday, February 2, 2018, our Heavenly Father sent an Angel for Tonya, for she had been doing a job here on earth for all to see her dedication to caring.  We know God always has a plan!  She now joins her Parents in the Lord’s home in heaven.  Tonya’s memory will forever be cherished by her two loving children, Rodo and LaSummer, her two brothers, Clifford Neal Jr. (Reggie) and Terrell Leonard Neal (Terry),  her sisters in care, Sarayu Patel, Marquita Renee Neal-Brown, Patricia Clark, Juavana Gallien, , Lorretta McDonald, Chinell Lorretta Neal Lofton, Mayra Murea, Millioniai Lavina Neal Lofton, Special Aunts: Betty Solomon (Thomas), Gwendolyn Midge Griffin (George), Aleene Reese (Alford), Melda Ann Millard (Wayne), and Regena Machelle Burress (Donald), Special Uncles; Albert (Paps) Neal, Albert (Neal) Neal, Gilbert Young, Odell Neal, Ronald Neal, Special Nephews; Reginald Neal and Kevin Neal; four Special God Children; Trefon Jones, Gary Littlejohn, Justin Johnson and ZeniYah Smith and a host of other nieces, nephews and cousins.  To God Be the Glory!

Thelma Lucille Appleton (1911-2018)

Thelma Lucille Appleton died peacefully on February 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California, just 11 days shy of her 107th birthday. Thelma was born on February 26, 1911 on a farm in Jones County, Iowa. Her family made several moves back and forth between Iowa and La Canada, California before finally settling in La Canada in 1924. She graduated from Glendale High School in 1928, attended Glendale Junior College,  and then transferred to UCLA where she graduated in 1932 with a degree in elementary education.

Thelma married Frederic Appleton on August 3, 1933. Both she and her husband began a career as Presbyterian missionaries to the Philippines in 1936 that lasted until 1972, interrupted only by World War II and from 1952 to 1961, when Frederic served as pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in San Gabriel, California.

Thelma is survived by her 3 sons, Donald,   Frederic, Jr., and David and daughters-in-law Jackie, Ann, and Laurie. She had 6 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She and her husband retired to Monte Vista Grove Homes in Pasadena in 1975.  Frederic passed away in March of 2004. A memorial service at Monte Vista Grove Homes is pending.

Howard Michael Hartgrove (1933-2018)

Howard Michael “Mike” Hartgrove of Laughlin, Nevada passed away on February 1, 2018, in Torrance, California. Mike was born on December 10, 1933, in Shawneetown, Illinois and was the son of Joanna and Howard Hartgrove. At the age of 7, he and his family moved to Pasadena, California. After a brief return to the mid-west during World War II, Mike came back to California and graduated from St. Francis High School in La Canada, CA

Mike was a nationally ranked badminton player throughout the 1950’s and 1960s and was member ofthe prestigious United States Thomas cup teams in 1958, 1961, and 1964 where he made multiple international appearances. He was employed in various capacities throughout his life as a public accountant, stock broker, and in the tourism and gaming industries. Mike’s keen wit, sense of humor, and kindness will be greatly missed by all who knew him. 


Mike will be interned at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California and a celebration of life will be held on February 24, 2018, in Mission Viejo, CA. Interested parties should contact (949) 533-7615 for more information.

Looking Out The Window Here at Mountain View… (February 2018)

Looking out the window here at Mountain View once again…
It must be February. Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day coming our way. Baseball is in the air as well, as everyone knows, Dodger Blue is brewing behind the scenes and it’s time guys, to practice, practice, practice.

Speaking of location, location, location, it was awesome. We had a wonderful tour in mid-January inside our ‘Sistine Chapel’ our Mountain View Mausoleum on Marengo Avenue.
It was a gaggle of local Real Estate Broker types. Friendly Paul lead the charge and adding to the entourage, he brought along a few friends and neighbors to hear the captivating story of our wonderful, grand lady, our Mountain View Mausoleum.
The back story. The stained glass. The flowers. Many colorful questions. Many colorful answers. We love to do our walk-along tours. We’re open seven days. Hope to see you and yours on our next adventure walk. Got milk? Got tours? Yes, we do.

They were there. They were awesome. It was the Band of Brothers from the VFW, point man was Commander Daniel C. Lopez. A tribute to a fallen Veteran. Standing at attention. Poised rifles. A 21-gun salute. The playing of Taps. The folding of Old Glory.
Whether you were a fly boy or fly girl, or wearing a Navy uniform or Army fatigues, there’s always a lump in the throat as Taps plays. To all our fallen brothers and sisters in arms, and to all their families, we salute you.

Listening to the sound of Taps being played, reminds us that our Mountain View Cemetery is home to some of the greats, the musical movers, and shakers. “Willy and the Hand Jive” was a pop staple on Billboard Charts and featured on American Bandstandand the Ed Sullivan Show.
‘Hand Jive’ creative music maker, Johhny Otis rests here at Mountain View. The musical note on his headstone says it all. Whenever Clint Eastwood’s “Play Misty for Me” movie plays on cable, you’ll hear Johnny Otis’ hypnotic song, thumping and pumping on the soundtrack. Thanks for the ride Mr. Music. We miss you.
A moment’s walk from Johnny Otis is another icon. He’s the author of the bestseller “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman.” Feynman played his special kind of music in the world of science. Like in Physics. Like in Ph.D. At Cal-Tech. At Los Alamos. History lives here in Mountain View.
It’s might be time to lose a few winter calories and enjoy a stroll through our lush ‘Mountain Meadows’ of history.
Walk into your future, by celebrating the past. Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum. Stop by and say hello. You’re most welcome.
Congratulations to Jim in our office. He’s off for a few days to cuddle his new granddaughter, Ayla!
Till we look out the window here at Mountain View once again…
Photos & Text by Denny Dormody F.D. 3383
Research input via Oscar.
Location mapping by Patience.

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