Posted on May 19, 2020
Donna Virginia LaRocca Cotterell marries John “Jack” Holroyd in Las Vegas on October 3, 1958, per online Vegas wedding records difficult to decipher.
Patriarch Joseph Ned LaRocca dies of lung cancer towards the end of 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. 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.
Note the name of last employer: Leith Stevens.
The 1960s Begin
In 1960 and 62, Virginia LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 13204 Riverside Drive, about 2 miles from Grant High School at 13000 Oxford Ave. This is also the address listed on Joseph Ned LaRocca’s death cert. above.
Donna and Jack Holroyd are registered Republicans in 1960 and 62 per ancestry.com voting records. Their listed address is a 6-plex apartment building on Oxford Ave. The building location is easy walking distance to Grant High School.
Diana’s photo does not appear in any Grant High School or Van Nuys High School yearbook during the years she would have attended and graduated from high school. This would have been 60, 61 and 62.
1962 would have been Diana’s graduation year and turning 18 in March.
Posted on May 14, 2020
Virginia Young LaRocca is Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line.
A Christian Science practitioner is an individual who prays for others according to the teachings of Christian Science. Treatment is non-medical, rather it is based on the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who said she discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science church in 1879. According to the church, Christian Science practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties and any other problem or crisis.
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A 1955, an LA telephone directory lists a Ned J. LaRocca at 4414 N. Ethel and a Virginia Young LaRocca with the same address.
Donna Cotterell is listed with the 13055 Moorpark address. 13055 Moorpark is on a corner with Ethel St.
4114 Ethel St. doesn’t seem to be an “real” address; I don’t find a record of it anywhere besides the phone directory. This could be a result of the house modification for Donna, Diana and Constance.
1957 Virginia Young LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 4414 N. Ethel State 4-7052 North Hollywood. Cr. Sci. Pr.
The Christian Science Church won the right to accept insurance for their practitioners, but I have been unable to find what year.
I can’t tell how much income Virginia made from her vocation as a CSP.
It is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of the household.
I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this was the norm of the era.
Posted on May 1, 2020
This 1942 registration card of Joseph Ned LaRocca’s was nicknamed the “Old Man’s Draft Card.” It was required by a Selective Service Act (after Pearl Harbor) and used to acquire information. It was likened to a “snapshot of American males age 45-64 years old.
This document shows us that Joseph Ned LaRocca lived at 3834 Evans St and that he worked at NBC and CBS on Radio Row, Sunset and Vine.
Virginia LaRocca is named owner the “double” house at 3710/12 Arbolada Rd. on an LA building permit. Donna has a voter registration record with this address in 1944. seen in ancestry. Robert Morgan Cotterell name is listed as a POW with this address in 44 (see other chapter titled Arbolada) Joseph LaRocca is listed in the LA telephone directory with this address in 1948.
Arbolada Rd. dead ends, is high on a hill with an incredible panoramic view of the area. It’s close to their Evans St. home and near famous Griffith Park.
Coincidentally 3710/12 Arbolada is about 5 minutes by car from 3311 Waverly drive, home of Manson “family” victims Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
Antonio LaBianca, father of Leno LaBianca, bought the Waverly house in 1940. So the 2 Italian families,(Joseph’s wife Virginia was not Italian but Mormon with English ancestry) were neighbors at one point, even if they never met. Joseph’s wife Virginia was a Caucasian Mormon, she and Joseph met on the vaudeville circuit.
Ned and Virginia LaRocca may have purchased the Arbolada double house to accommodate the extended family members who occasionally stayed or lived here, per directories and voter registrations. (collection of author)
This includes: Joseph’s niece Mildred Marinell, moved out from Peoria, Ill. Virginia’s sister Josephine Harker, her sometimes singing/dancing partner back in the days of vaudeville, their daughter Donna, their son-in-law Robert, and granddaughters Constance and Diana Cotterell.
All these names (except for the girls) were linked to the Evans address from 1938 through around 1947, per records.
It’s easy to imagine the Evans house ( by Marshall High School, ) was too small to fit all those family members comfortably. I have seen city documents of the original house plan.
Donna and Robert’s divorce was final in 1947.
Virginia LaRocca had been a full time Christian Science Practitioner by the 1940s and a Christian Science Reader at some point. Her income from this is unknown. She had her own phone per listing in the LA phone book.
The city of Los Angeles experienced a housing shortage during the post-war years. More so than usual.
This fact caused me to wonder as to how the LaRoccas could afford the 2 houses in the early 1940s.
I didn’t find an exact answer but the next several chapters may shed some light on the upwardly mobile direction of the LaRocca/Cotterell family.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Rating: 5 out of 5.
View from Arbolada Drive is spectacular as is the original building itself. It’s not friendly for wheels.