1950s #2 Diana Cotterell in the SFV. Grade School. Horses. Sepulveda Stables. Van Nuys Junior High. Donna V. Remarries. Grandfather Ned Dies. New Information. Updated 1/28/23

Diana should have started grade school in about 1950. It appears she lived in Gardena in 1950 per the 1950 census. It’s unknown where she started grade school in that community.

Grandmother Virginia LaRocca is listed in an online Gardena 1951 phone directory as a Christian Science Practitioner, see below. Husband Joseph Ned is not listed. This is unusual after looking at decades of the couple linked. Had Ned already moved up to the SFV? Did the girls and Donna move with him or stay with Virginia another year in Gardena?

The family likely moved to 13055 Moorpark St in Studio City between 1952-1954.

Riverside Drive Elementary is located at 13061 Riverside Drive, very close to the Moorpark house.

If the Cotterell girls walked to school from their house on Moorpark, all they had to do was turn north on Ethel Ave., and it was a straight walk straight to the school. It would have taken only a few minutes.

There would have been no Ventura Freeway to walk under along the way.  I think that came in 1959.

UPDATE 5-20-20 I found this article.

Both Dixie Canyon and Riverside Drive elementary schools are the same distance, .6 miles, to the Moorpark/Ethel house where Diana lived with her mother, sister and grandparents through much of the 1950s.

But Diana was definitely at Dixie Canyon in the 6th grade as seen in the article.

It can be confirmed that she attended Van Nuys Junior High for the 7th and 9th grades.

This photo below is one of the first articles I found that showed me Diana Cotterell and Paige Young were the same person.

Valley News April 7, 1957
Diana Cotterell Age 15/16

1959 The above photo is from the Van Nuys Junior High yearbook. Diana Cotterell was in the 9th grade. Her grandfather Jospeh Ned LaRocca would die later that year. (separate post) I found these photos in the VNJH school library with the librarian standing over me as lunch was about to start. There were several yearbooks, more like paper notebooks, in a jumble. This was the only photo I could find of Diana on that day. I haven’t found a photo of her 8th grade year.

I have reason to believe that Diana Cotterell dropped out of school after the 9th grade.

Here is the photo in a larger context. Candy Conklin was with the Singing King family at some point.

Van Nuys News June 18, 1959.
Many SFV schools had graduation ceremonies, mid June 1959, including Van Nuys Junior High shown in the 3rd column. Diana Lee Cotterell would have been among the graduates that day.
Yearbooks from 1956 & 1958 Van Nuys Junior High . Diana Cotterell attended here from 1957-1959. She is not in the 58′ yearbook that I can see, but is in the 59′ edition as shown above

1953-1959 Like many kids living in 1950s San Fernando Valley, Diana Lee Cotterell is obsessed with horses. Diana rides and boards her horse at Sepulveda Stables, located at 5763 Sepulveda Blvd, on the corner of Hatteras.

Equestrian shows were held almost every weekend in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s.

Valley News and Green Sheet June 18, 1959 I’ve never found Diana or Paige named in an article about a SS presentation.

There were commercial horse stables and riding trails all over the SFV in the 50s and 60s. In fact the whole area was known as still rural in the post-war era, even as the population exploded and the rural land was paved over.

In the 1950s of suburban-rural SFV.,horse husbandry was considered a wholesome activity for youth and thought to produce responsible America citizens.

And probably most importantly, it would keep kids and teens busy and separated from the bad influences of “juvenile delinquency,” a growing social concern of the 1950s, all over America.

source: Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development and White Privilege by Laura R. Barraclough

Diana owned a horse named Hamish from junior high, 1957-1959, to at least 1964 when she was married to Mark Segal and living at his house at 4133 Crisp Canyon Rd. .

Sepulvedastables.net where I got much of this information seems to have been removed. I spoke with the owner of the website a few years earlier who remembered Paige. This woman was 12 or 13 and Paige was probably 19 or 20 living with Mark Segal on Crisp Canyon Rd.. Paige invited this girl up for lemonade to this address on Crisp Canyon Rd.

The future Mrs. John Huston and friend to Paige Young, Celeste Shane, (see chapters on her) also boards a horse at Sepulveda Stables by the early 1960s. as does actress Donna Reed and actress Jill St. John who was a close friend of Celeste’s.

Donna Virginia LaRocca Cotterell marries John “Jack” Holroyd in Las Vegas on October 31958, per online Vegas wedding records very difficult to decipher. Found on ancestry.com.

Patriarch Joseph Ned LaRocca dies of lung cancer towards the end of 1959.

LAT November 18, 1959.

Ned LaRocca’s grave is in Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar.

Below are closeups of Ned LaRocca’s death certificate.

It looks like he spent about a year in a sanitarium located on Foothill Blvd. in the Tujunga/Sunland area. It was called “Lakeview Terrace Sanitarium” and the building was originally the home of silent film star Francis X. Bushman.

I have been unable to learn if this was specifically a Christian Science sanitarium, (his wife was a CSP) but I have learned that the Tujunga area was considered to have cleaner air than other parts of the San Fernando Valley.

93F067DF-D2A2-4560-AE5E-221FC1E2C258_1_201_a

 Note the name of last employer: Leith Stevens.

NEW

There was an obituary placed in Ned’s hometown of Peoria, Illinois upon his death. Recently posted to Find-a-grave, I will transcribe below.

Joe N. (Ned) LaRocca, a native Peorian like his brother Roxy LaRocca and a former Vaudeville star, died Sunday night at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He had been in failing health a number of years and had suffered several strokes.

He was a music contractor for Columbia Broadcasting Co. in Hollywood for many years.

Mr. LaRocca, a harpist, appeared in vaudeville with the Young Sisters, Virginia and Josephine, and later married Virginia. They continued with their act until the birth of a child when Mr. LaRocca joined a brother, Paul LaRocca, now operator of a local barber shop, in a new stage act.

Later, he became associated with his brother Roxy in New York theatre appearances. After Roxy left on a European tour, Mr. LaRocca became associated with CBS Radio, an association that he continued until last summer when he retired due to bad health.

Born in July, 1894, in the house at 1411 Martin St., presently occupied by his brother Roxy, he was a son of Salvatore and Roseanne LaRocca. He and his wife have been married for 42 years. She survives, with a daughter Donna V., and two grandchildren, all of Sherman Oaks: his two brothers, Roxy and Paul: and a sister, Kathryn Marinello, of North Hollywood, Calif. Two other brothers, Nick and Frank, are deceased.

Funeral services and burial will be today in Sherman Oaks.

Peoria Illinois Star November 18, 1959

There are obvious discrepancies between the death cert. and the obit. Died at home in obit. instead of Lakeview Terrace Sanitarium, death cert. “Cancer of the lung” in death cert. vs. a series of strokes.

Joseph and Virginia Married in 1915 and then became a vaudeville act with Josephine. Not the order as described in the obit, which was likely written by Virginia or Donna V.

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