Obituary: Martha L. Castleberry

Pomona native, loving wife and mother, 60-year Claremont resident

Longtime Claremont resident Martha L. Castleberry, loving wife, mother and grandmother, died peacefully October 7 with her daughters and caregiver by her side. She was 97.

Born Martha Lee Mills in July of 1924 at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, her father was the deputy Los Angeles County assessor, often conducting property assessments on horseback. He was additionally involved with the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona since its beginnings, and was the grand marshal of the race track. As a child and a teenager, Martha spent time at the fair, and loved to tell the story of meeting Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in her father’s office while the glamorous couple visited the track. She was also crowned “Miss Avocado” one year during the fair’s run.

She graduated from Pomona High School in 1942. During her late teens and early adult years, she worked various jobs in the Pomona area, San Francisco, summers on Balboa Island, and in San Diego at her aunt’s riding and jumping academy in Balboa Park. While attending Mt. San Antonio College she met her future husband, Justus Castleberry, a member of the school’s first graduating class. The two married in 1948.

The couple first made their home in Pomona, where they began their family. Her husband co-founded Lloyd’s Furniture and Appliances and Lloyd’s Business and Industrial Park of Montclair.

The Castleberrys moved to Claremont in 1962, where they lived out their years in the City of Trees. They moved to Mt. San Antonio Gardens retirement community in 2005. Mr. Castleberry died in 2019.

While enjoying her life as a homemaker, she also utilized her aptitude for interior design, appreciated and enjoyed many of Claremont’s local artists, and volunteered with the Curtain Raisers of the Claremont Colleges. In addition, the couple spent many happy years at their San Clemente home overlooking Califia Beach, were early members of the Claremont Tennis Club, and traveled to many countries worldwide.

She is survived by her daughters Gail Smith of San Juan Capistrano and Sandii Daigh of Idyllwild; granddaughters Mackenzie Smith and Callan Smith; and eight nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Justus; her son, Craig; brother, Richard Mills; and sons-in-law, Ronald Daigh and Biff Smith.

The family would like to acknowledge and thank caregiver Tina Sauceda and her family. “Their loving care enriched and comforted the last seven years of mama’s life,” they shared.
Services are pending.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to VNA Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California at, or by check to P.O. Box 908, Claremont, CA 91711.



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