Donna Hagen Spencer McCalister, Class of 1937

March 05, 2001
Santa Paula High School
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association (Biography #126 - Have you submitted yours?)Louis Hagen, a painting contractor, and his wife Tryphene Layton Hagen, an amateur artist, came to Santa Paula in 1922 with their two children, Herbert, Class of 1935, and Donna, Class of 1937. Ten years later their daughter Joann, Class of 1950, arrived. The children attended Isbell grammar school and lived two doors from the H. Peyton Johnson family on South 4th Street. They quickly became friends with Mary Louise and Harold.Our subject, Donna, was in the Girls Athletic Association and a member of the tumbling team. Some of her memorable teachers were Rhe Nelson, Lorraine Noble and Ellen Bailard, along with Henry Hill and Clarence Wegel. Donna recalls her “pals” in school were Pauline Cochran, Bernice Blumenthal, Jacquita Stittgen, Evelyn Stewart and Rosalie Fisher.Following graduation Donna went to Ventura Junior College, where she was the editor of the Pirate Press and was also elected to the school council as Commissioner of Publications. Following graduation from VC, Donna became the society editor for the Santa Paula Chronicle.Donna met Clyde Spencer of Piru, an ensign in the U.S. Navy. They were married and she spent the war years following Clyde around the U.S.A. for his assignments as a Navy pilot.
Clyde and Donna had two sons, Brian and Jan. The family then moved to Davis, where Clyde enrolled in UC Davis. Following his graduation he went to work for Spreckles Sugar Company as a field supervisor, and they moved to Ceres, California. It was here that son Brian contracted polio and was taken to Modesto for treatment.Donna commuted to San Jose College to get her degree, and eventually received her degree in library science while raising her sons. In 1955 Clyde contracted polio, and spent a year in the hospital in Downey. Donna got a job as a substitute teacher. In 1965 Clyde succumbed to polio, and Donna was able to secure a job as high school librarian in Bishop in 1966.In 1974 Donna met and married Graham McCalister, an electrical supervisor employed at a Union Carbide mine near Bishop. They retired in 1981, and moved to Bullhead City, Arizona, where they play golf and travel in their motor home.Donna feels fortunate to have a number of oil paintings by her now deceased mother hung throughout her home. One of Donna’s exciting hobbies is painting china, and she has painted a set for each of her grandchildren’s weddings. She is looking forward to her class reunion next year so she can again visit with her high school friends.

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