Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carol Jane Smallenburg 1915-2010

Email today from Pam Zipfel Kirkwood '64:

Received from Trudie Lombard Hentze '65 and Christine Collins Cross '65...
Pam


Carol Jane Smallenburg would have been 95 years old on Christmas Day. This evening (Tuesday, November 16th) she quietly passed away in her chair around 7:30 PM. We will not dwell on the loss of life, but rather upon the greatness of hers. Mrs. Smallenburg, known affectionately to many as "Mama Doc", received a doctorate in education after graduating from high school at 16 and earning her BA from Stanford University. This would be quite an achievement at any age, let alone for a woman in the 1930's. When she was born in 1915 women were not even allowed to vote yet! Mrs. Smallenburg retired in the early 1980's as a professor from Cal State Los Angeles and Head of the Social Sciences Dept.

I'll bet most people don't know that one of Mrs. Smallenburg first teaching positions was at Burbank High School in the late 1930's, which made her the oldest living BHS teacher. Mr. LiPera was one of her students! She once told me that she loved coming out of the building after school and looking out over the entire San Fernando Valley, which consisted mostly of farmland and orchards.

In addition to the thousands of students Mrs. Smallenburg inspired over the years, she was also a loving and devoted wife and mother. All four of her children (Harry - BHS 60, John - BHS 63, Carol Benson - BHS 65, and Bob - BHS 72) graduated from college and became teachers. Tonight, as we gathered at the old homestead located at the very end of Alameda in Burbank, we added up all of the people she paid for or assisted financially to complete their college degrees. In addition to her four children and four grandchildren, we counted at least four other people, for a total of no less than 12. She also created and annually funded several scholarships, including one at Burbank High, so her legacy will continue in years to come.

Arrangements are pending; however, cards for Harry, John, Carol or Bob may be sent to the family home at 840 South Sunset Canyon, Burbank, CA 91501. If you want to reach one of them personally, please email Trudie at tjhentze@aol.com and she will make sure they receive your message.

Rest in peace our darling friend. We will miss your brilliant mind and incredible sense of humor, but treasure the memories forever.

Trudie Lombard Hentze and Christine Collins Cross

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