Last of a generation
Original post made by Charlie Welch on Dec 2, 2008
On November 17th, my Aunt, Betty Jane Todd (deCurtoni) passed away at the age of 84. She was married to Cpt. James F. Todd (Navy), who was aboard the USS Macon when it went down off the coast of Monterey (Hanger 1, was it's home back then) and a he was a member of the landing crew when the Hindenberg exploded. They raised 3 children, Karen, Jim and Kim. Betty was a long time Sunnyvale resident with roots back to old Mountain View.
Betty was the last of a generation of the deCurtoni family who settled in Mountain View from San Francisco in 1906, on what was the family ranch along Church Street (35 Church Street, still in family) belonging to her Grandfather and Grandmother, Frank and Mattie deCurtoni.
Her father, Frank and his wife Sara brought into the world, Betty's brother, Charles (1913), and sisters, Doris (Laurie/1912),
Elva (Kankel/1917) and Barbara (Welch/1920). Betty was the youngest of the children. They all graduated from Mtn. View, either the Old Highway School or the newly completed (back then) Mountain View High.
Her sister Barbara was a life long Mountain View resident and Barbara's husband, Jim Welch taught at the Old Highway School after World War II. Betty's sister, Elva Kankel lived in Los Altos with her husband Bob, who owned and operated the old Chevron gas station on the corner of California and Castro Street. Doris and Charles both married and went on to different towns, but both returned to Mountain View to live out their final days.
When the New High School was completed they composed the lyrics to to their Alma Mater song, "We'll fight for dear old Mountain View and her colors blue and gray". They were also involved in the planting of the Redwood trees that still stand near what was the Girl's Gym and across the street at Pioneer Park. Frank deCurtoni was on a crew that planted the Camphor trees along Valardi Street that form that cool canopy as you drive down the block.
The common thread this deCurtoni family shared was their love of their home town and the life long friendships they developed while growing up among the orchards and farm land that comprised Mountain View. Where they could get on their horses and ride up to Stevens Creek and beyond. Where families knew each other and helped each other. A town where locking the doors at night before bed was unheard of.
The old days of a quiet little town with orchards and farms and friendships that lasted a lifetime... John Puppo, Don Lawson, Ed Mylrea, Lorena Mylrea, Maggie Mylrea, Charles Moore, Lawrence Anderson, Pete Stahor, Stan Anderson, Marty Spangler, Doris Awalt, Irv Carter, Alan Cranston, Peppy Martinez, Pete Janovich, Jack Randall, Bob Mastin, Helen Shearer, Jean Mockbee, Andy Janovich... too many others to recall and too many now departed... I like to think they are all now gathered together at my Grandmother's old Creamary that sat next to the old Mountain View Theater. The place where my mother, Barbara met my father, as she worked behind the counter and he would stop in after a day of teaching at the old Highway School and the old timers could come in for a treat... The originals from back in a day we can only imagine and who so few are still around to shed light on how truly special Mountain View was back before Silly-con Valley erupted. As a community, Moutain View is far better off having had such people as molders of what we have today.
Go Eagles and Keep the Faith...
Charlie Welch/ Class of '68
Barbara deCurtoni/ Class of '37 - John Welch/ Class of '59
on Dec 3, 2008 at 12:41 am
"...how truly special Mountain View was back before Silly-con Valley erupted."
I'm sorry for your loss. It was an interesting read having recently cared for and lost a grandparent from this generation, too.
ps: but did you really have to take a cheap shot at what the valley is now? This is the best place on earth for engineers like me and I wouldn't change it.
on Dec 3, 2008 at 8:43 am
Betty Todd (deCurtoni) was my grandmother and I am immensely proud of my family and heritage. To them it wasn't about working in Mountain View, it was about the community they made Mountain View a historic gem. Not the tech boom.
Charlie - thank you.
on Dec 3, 2008 at 2:41 pm
Comment wasn't meant to demean anyone or their vocations... It was meant as a reflection on how caotic and frenzied the area has become since the days of my Great Grandparents and their children's, children's, children... Back when it was called Santa Clara Valley.
Sure, change is necessary... it took up until 1992/3 before our end of Church Street had sidewalks. Each generation brings on changes and Mountain View has become a key player in keeping up with the times and bringing in the revenue to keep the town looking as nice as it does (Thank you Google and everyone else).
I used to work for the City Parks Department where I kept up Pioneer Park, the Civic Center and the Downtown area and took great pride in doing so.... and I would always look at the grove of Redwoods at Pioneer Park and say to myself, "My Mom helped plant these beauties, good job Barbara June".