Introduction to Fillmore Obituaries
Compiled by Jay C. Wood
Fillmore Herald Fillmore Daily Sun
(Jan 1916-Dec 1996) (Jun 1917-Aug 1919)
Fillmore American Fillmore Gazette
(Dec 1925-Nov 1932) (Sep 1989-Dec 1996)
“There comes a time in life when a newspaper reader turns to the obituaries after a scan of the ghastly events on the front page. This habit usually develops when muscles begin to defy gravity and telephone books require magnification.
Among those brief notices of mortality, a reader often finds affecting accounts of lives lived with purpose, fidelity and dignity — biographies that seldom publicly are noted elsewhere. These summings-up can be antidote to the cynicism that seems, mysteriously, to have become ubiquitous in this favored land.
Henry David Thoreau was wrong, as in quite a number of things, when he portentously wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” As obituaries sometimes make evident, the mass of men and women lead lives of quiet commitment and determination.”
“Borrowing Inspiration From Life Lived Well,”
Reprinted with permission from Insight.
Copyright 1997 Insight. All rights reserved.
Fillmore, California is an unusual town. A total of four newspapers have been published in Fillmore and yet the population of the town has never exceeded 15,000. One of these newspapers (The Fillmore Herald) started about 1906 and has been in continuous publication ever since. Unfortunately the Fillmore Library’s collection starts with 1916 for the simple reason that until 1916 there was no library in Fillmore.
This is an index to the obituaries found in the collections of the four newspapers in the Fillmore Library. The library’s collections are, for the most part, complete with an occasional missing edition. The newspapers are in bound volumes and readily available during the hours the Library is open.
Actually, more than obituaries are indexed here. This is also an index to articles about accidents, murders, drownings and any other article which told of the death of someone in the Fillmore area or who was in some way connected with Fillmore. If the report of a death was made in a Fillmore newspaper between 1916 and 1996, it should be in this index. There is an exception to that. The deaths of promenade people with no particular connection to Fillmore are not indexed.
There is another exception. On 13 March 1928 the St. Francis Dam broke. The ensuing flood came down the Santa Clara River with little or no warning. A good portion of the Fillmore community was destroyed. Over three hundred people were killed. At the time, there were two newspapers in Fillmore and both published “official” death lists. These lists have not been incorporated in this index. However, there were people who lost their lives in that flood whose names are in other articles in the newspapers. They are in this index and their entry has “St. Francis Dam Break & Flood” as their place of death.
Undoubtedly, there are some inadvertent omissions from this index. If you do not find the person you are looking for in this index, look in the newspapers from the time of death. Actually you should always read the obituary or article and not rely on this index as your sole source of information. This is an index, nothing more and nothing less.
The “Maiden Name to Married Name” cross-reference is used when only the maiden name is known. Quite often, the obituary did not include the maiden name of a married woman. I attempted to determine the maiden name and was successful when her brothers were listed as survivors.
I wish to thank the staff of the Fillmore Library for the excellent cooperation I received during this project. Bernadette McDowell and Louise Adaikkalam have been particularly helpful. I spent, in the library, about 275 hours across two plus years on this project. They got used to seeing me there particularly on Wednesday mornings.
For the technically minded, I manually entered the information from the newspapers onto a pad in the library. Later, I transferred the information to a data base. Then I made a “report” from the data base which I worked into its present shape and form in a word processor. I wish to thank Kristen Duerr of Parson’s Technology for the permission to use the excellent genealogical computer program, Family Origins, as the data base.
The epigraph by Woody West was printed in a national magazine on 28 July 1997. I wish to thank Mr. West and Georgia Brown of Insight magazine for the permission to use it.
Finally, any errors and omissions from this index are my fault and in no way the responsibility of the staff of the Fillmore Library or anyone else. Please let the Fillmore Library know if you find any corrections or additions to this index.
Jay C. Wood
* Of the four newspapers this was the only daily, the other three are (were) all weeklies.
¤ These newspapers are still in publication (1997).
± There is not a total of 9,131 individual names since many obits were published in two newspapers.
Copyright © 1997 by Jay C. Wood
All right reserved.
Privately Published by the compiler 1997
Printed in the United States of America
Used with permission