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Neighbors make a community home Richard Peña | Sat, Mar 01 2014 12:00 PM

Two long time residents of the South Bay, Ada Osborn and Don Hinkle—which we might add are a couple of our favorite people— were singled out in separate ceremonies the other day, one at a local restaurant and the other at a military base.

Both have been subjects of this space before mainly because of the long and fruitful life that they have led.

It was along about this time of last year that I wrote of Ada.  It was on the occasion of the celebration of her 100th birthday.  The Admiral Kidd club, on Loma Portal was filled with about 200 of her friends and relatives sharing with her this momentous occasion that is not reached by many.

The other day was a reprise of that day, but on a smaller scale.  A few of her friends, neighbors and relatives gathered and toasted the lady, at The Galley Restaurant at the J Street Marina. A few weeks ago we played on words a bit when we asserted that Ada was approaching 101, her birthdate, not the freeway.

In speaking with her we learned that she was a first generation member of her family to be born in this country.  Her mother, moved to the United States from her native Denmark in 1904.  She married shortly after arriving on these shores and the family migrated west until they settled in Chula Vista in the vicinity of what is now Fourth Avenue and

Moss Street where they homesteaded and raised a family.

According to family lore this was the headquarters for the Osborn and the Johanson clans, two prolific units who raised their families while they tended their farmland, a way of living in those days.  Land was inexpensive at that time and that area of the city was ideal for the raising of children. Ada once related to me that life was hard in those growing up years, the eldest of the clan pitching in and aiding with the younger set but it was a way of life and it was accepted by all.

The ceremony involving Hinkle, at a banquet room at Camp Pendleton was on a different scale.  The Marines were observing the anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima, a major fight that, for all intents and purposes, sounded the death knell for the Japanese Empire in World War II.  Hinkle, a twenty-nine year old para-trooper at the time was in the thick of the battle. He has related to me, in other occasions, that it took 36 days for the members of the Marine Corps to take back the island from the enemy.  It was such an important victory that it has been keynoted by a life-size statue on the Mall in Washington.

A few years ago Hinkle, led by his guide, his son, Jauhn, made the trip one more time to this faraway island that, at one time, had garnered so much publicity.  It was a reunion of sorts, as they were joined by many who had been in the fray. It was also an eye-opener for the many who thought that they would never again set foot on that piece of land.

Hinkle, like Ada, is also getting up in years.  In May he will be 98.  He, and his wife, LaRayne are both natives of South Dakota but have lived in the South Bay for most of their adult lives.  For the past 10 years or so they have lived across the street from me.  Their roots were rather deep in their native state but they have both averred that it was the wind that drove them away.  So we score one more for the climate of Southern California.

I once read somewhere that the quality of a community is, in most instances, dependent on the quality of those who populate it.  With folks like Ada Osborn and Don Hinkle around us I would have to state that we are in pretty good shape.

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