Mary Elizabeth Reynolds Burns
11/4/1921 – 3/9/2021
- Mary Elizabeth Reynolds was born November 4, 1921 in Kansas City, Missouri. She was only child.
- Her father JR (Bob) Reynolds was a car salesman. Mary Elizabeth and her mother (Marjorie Young Reynolds) lived in various cities on the East Coast and Midwest during her early childhood, following Bob’s work. They often lived in boarding houses and traveled by train from city to city.
- The Reynolds family came to America in the 1650s landing in Philadelphia and then settling in Maryland. Mary’s direct ancestors moved on from there to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. Mary visited some of these places in 2006 and 2007 on a roots tour with her son and daughter.
- Mary Elizabeth’s aunt (Carrie Reynolds) moved to Los Angeles to work as a schoolteacher in 1921.Her mother (Mary Elizabeth’s grandmother) follows Carrie to Los Angeles in 1922 and buys a house a 516 N. Hobart in 1924.
- Following the death of Mary Elizabeth’s grandmother in 1932, she and her parents moved to 516 North Hobart Blvd. (which was then called Hollywood). As a young girl, spending the day at the movies & roller-skating were two favorite activities. She and her friends took streetcars everywhere to get around town. Mary never learned to ride a bike, but taught many others to do so.
- Mary Elizabeth (ME) attended Virgil Jr. High and Fairfax High schools. She was Student Body president and Girls’ League president at Virgil. She was also an honor-roll student. One of her favorite subjects was Spanish.
- Mary Elizabeth met Jimmy Burns at her neighbor’s home in the late 1930s. They married on May 25, 1940 in Las Vegas, NV. During WW II, ME lived with her parents when Jimmy entered the service and went overseas.
- ME attended business school and her first job was as the secretary to the president of California Bank in downtown Los Angeles. Her favorite subject was shorthand (now an unknown skill). She was one of the fastest typists (before it was called “keyboarding”) in her class. ME learned to drive in 1941 on a manual transmission car.
- Mary had to quit working in 1946 when she became pregnant with Stephen Reynolds Burns because women were not allowed to be married employees at the time. (During the war years she told the bank she was still single).
- Mary, Jimmy and Steve moved to the San Fernando Valley in the 1950s and bought their first house at 14950 Los Alimos Street, Mission Hills. Mary Beth Burns was born in 1959.
- Mary, Jimmy and Mary Beth moved back to Los Angeles in 1966 when their property was designated for transportation development and became part of the 118 freeway.
- In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Mary’s volunteer activities included: PTA president, Cub Scout den mother, Campfire Girl leader, Presbyterian Women’s Club president, Sunday School teacher, and church secretary. Mary was a carpool mom and extra-curricular activities driver before the term existed.
- “Grandma Mary” was the primary baby-sitter from 1975-2000 for her grandchildren:Michael, Korinn and Adam.
- Mary went back to work for the Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau in 1980 and worked with the girls from the bureau welcoming conventioneers to Los Angeles over the next 10 years. Mary and Jim moved to Leisure World, Laguna Hills in 1990.
- Mary has always loved the movies and biographies of screen actors and actresses, especially those from the “Golden Years of Hollywood” during the 1930s through 1950s.She still owns a VCR and tapes of old movies are her favorite form of entertainment.
- Mary has always been interested in the biographies and the lives of the English “Royals”. She visited England, Scotland and Wales several times from 1983-2004 with family and friends.
- To this day, Mary still sends birthday and Christmas cards to friends and family:her penmanship is as lovely as it was in the 1930s. She owns a cell phone, but not a PC and she doesn’t e-mail.
- In 1998 Mary and Jim moved to Villa Valencia where she served as an Ambassador–welcoming new residents.
- Jim passed away in 2001.
- In late 2017 Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and spent the last years of her life under the loving and watchful care of the staff at Verona Court #10 in Aliso Viejo.
- She passed away peacefully on March 9, 2021. She is survived by her two children: Stephen Burns (Virginia) and Mary Beth Gonzales (Lionel); 3 grandchildren: Michael Burns (Shannon), Korinn Wiest (David) and Adam Gonzales-Zraick (Madison); and 4 great grandchildren: Kyra and, John Burns, Casey and Carsten Wiest.