SPUHS Alumni Association annual dinner

September 17, 2003
Santa Paula High School

The Santa Paula Union High School Alumni Association is hosting its annual dinner on Saturday, September 27 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Ventura.

By B. J. Harding, Alumni Association PresidentThe Santa Paula Union High School Alumni Association is hosting its annual dinner on Saturday, September 27 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Ventura. All members of the Association and all classmates of the graduating years ending in "3" and "8" have been sent invitations in the mail. Classmates will be seated at tables by class so all attendees will be near their friends.The honorees for this year are Ruth Scurlock Walker, Class of 1939, and Elda Tonello, teacher at SPUHS from 1955-1986.Ruth Scurlock Walker was born in Santa Paula, the eldest of five children of Henry and Laura Bounds Scurlock. She was raised on the Walden Ranch, where her father was employed, and attended Isbell grammar school. At SPUHS Ruth was involved in the Girls Athletic Association, Library Office Practice, Girls League, and Order of Gregg Artists.Soon after graduation, Ruth married and eventually raised four children of her own. During World War II she worked at the Mupu Citrus Packinghouse as a packer and was promoted to a lidder, previously a man's job. When the men all went to war, these jobs were assigned to capable women, who were then paid men's wages. After the war, Ruth went to work for some friends as a waitress. In 1948 she went to the B & J Steakhouse (later Henry's) in Fillmore until 1962, when she left to work at the Elkins Ranch Golf Course.After retiring from Elkins, Ruth fell into the task of caring for her family, friends and neighbors. She spent most of her time taking them to doctor's appointments, getting groceries, and taking care of such other needs as they might have.Ruth assists the Alumni Association as class correspondent, keeping up with her classmates and sharing the information with the Association. She also makes herself available to help the Association with all the projects needing helping hands. Additionally, Ruth has been the person behind the Alumni Ladies Luncheons, which meet quarterly during the year. All alumni ladies are welcome to these luncheons. Ruth is also a part of the "Lunch Bunch," the Class of 1939, who meet once a month for lunch.Ruth's family has now expanded to include her own two sons and two daughters, a stepson, seven grandsons and three great granddaughters, four step grandsons and three step granddaughters, 13 step great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren. She also has an untold number of would-be adoptees who call her Ma or Grandma. Ruth is one of those persons who is always available on call when needed.Elda Tonello, the eldest of three children of Joe and Rose Tonello, was born in Bray, California at a lumber camp where her father worked. In 1927 the family moved to Susanville, CA.
Her parents were new immigrants from Italy, so the family spoke Italian at home. Elda entered kindergarten speaking no English; however, in her class seven different languages were spoken, so by the first grade she was fluent in English. She, in turn, helped teach her parents.At Susanville High School, Elda participated in a program by foreign language teachers. Twice weekly, she went to the elementary school and taught beginning Spanish. This experience influenced her decision to become a language teacher.After high school she enrolled at Lassen Junior College, however December 7, 1941 changed everyone's life and plans. When the men went to war, the women stepped in to take over their jobs, so Elda went to work for the Lassen Lumber and Box factory. Here she made boxes for Limoneira Company and Blue Goose Co. of Santa Paula. Never did she dream that one day she would be teaching high school in Santa Paula 11 years later.Exactly nine months to the day Elda started at Lassen Lumber, an industrial accident necessitated the amputation of her left arm. After her recovery she returned to Lassen Junior College to study for a teaching career.In 1943 her brother Aldo was stationed at Camp Roberts, so their father found work in Santa Barbara and the family was moved there. In 1944, Elda enrolled in UCSB and followed a course in the Foreign Language Department. Before 1947 she began applying for teaching positions, and found one at a private girl's school in Montecito.In 1955 Elda decided to go to work in the public school system, and applied to five different schools in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. She was hired by Max Forney as a two-year replacement for Charles Hazeltine, who was taking his family to Europe to teach in an American Army school. Some 30 years later, she retired from SPUHS after teaching Spanish, Social Studies and French to hundreds of students.Since retiring Elda joined California Women for Agriculture, and is an officer of the Italian Catholic Federation. She has traveled to Italy, France, Spain and Mexico, and keeps busy with her gardening.Reservations are coming in from alumni from the Classes of 1930 through 1983. Alumni are invited to help honor Ruth and Elda and to visit with their old friends from SPUHS. Reservations close on September 20 so final plans can be made with the hotel.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.