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Elouise Walborn Brinegar

Teacher, gourmet cook, loving mother

Elouise Walborn Brinegar, a longtime Claremont resident, died on January 17, 2014 in La Verne from complications after suffering a fall at home. She was 96.

Mrs. Brinegar taught English at Montclair High School and was the wife of John B. Brinegar, a former superintendent of the Claremont Unified School District who predeceased her in 1997.

Mrs. Brinegar was born October 15, 1917 in Garden Home, Oregon where her father worked in retail as a textiles buyer and the family kept a small farm. Mrs. Brinegar’s parents then moved the family to Hollywood where her father continued as a textiles buyer and her mother was organist at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles. Mrs. Brinegar graduated from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles in 1935. While in high school, she worked as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl and as a model at Bullock’s Wilshire.

In 1935, Mrs. Brinegar enrolled at Chapman College, then located in Los Angeles, where she soon met John Brinegar. After graduation from Chapman in 1939, Mrs. Brinegar completed her work towards a teaching credential at the University of Southern California. She and Mr. Brinegar were married on June 14, 1941.

After their marriage, Mr. Brinegar began teaching high school English and Mrs. Brinegar settled in to be a homemaker and occasional substitute teacher. However, after the United States declared war in 1941, Mr. Brinegar volunteered for the Army Air Corps. In a practice common at the time, Mrs. Brinegar assumed Mr. Brinegar’s teaching position to hold it for him until his return from the war.

After Mr. Brinegar’s return from his duties as a B-17 bomber pilot in 1945, the couple moved to Sacramento where Mr. Brinegar worked for the California Department of Education as a flight instructor and Mrs. Brinegar returned to being a homemaker. The family moved briefly to Fullerton and then relocated in 1951 to Fallbrook, where Mr. Brinegar was superintendent of schools. In 1957, the family relocated to 29 Palms when Mr. Brinegar took the position of superintendent in Morongo Valley Unified School District. At that time, Mrs. Brinegar returned to the classroom, teaching English and typing at 29 Palms High School.

After Mr. Brinegar became superintendent of the Claremont Unified School District and the family moved to Claremont in 1963, Mrs. Brinegar took a position teaching English at Montclair High School in 1965. At Montclair, Mrs. Brinegar served as chair of the English department as well as teaching English and also sponsored several service clubs. Mrs. Brinegar retired from teaching in 1978.

In retirement, Mrs. Brinegar pursued her many lifelong passions and hobbies. She was an expert bridge player and continued to organize and participate in bridge clubs and tournaments. She was an excellent gourmet chef and organized several gourmet dinner clubs where the participants would each prepare an elaborate dish for a dinner around a central theme. Mrs. Brinegar took up golf after retirement and became an avid golfer, hitting her first hole-in-one after she was 85. Mrs. Brinegar also volunteered as an instructor in English as a Second Language at International Place at the Claremont Colleges for several years.

Mrs. Brinegar moved to Hillcrest Homes in La Verne in 2002 where she was a member of the marketing committee, edited the Hillcrest Happenings newsletter and participated with the Thespians.

Mrs. Brinegar is survived by her sons Robert Brinegar, a retired Claremont and Covina police officer and his wife Vicki, Donald Brinegar, professor of music at Pasadena City College and adjunct professor of music at the University of Southern California and his wife Jennifer, and William Brinegar, retired assistant superintendent of Bonita Unified School District and his wife Kimberly, a former principal of Oakmont Elementary School in Claremont. Mrs. Brinegar is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Claremont Presbyterian Church, Organ Restoration Fund.

 

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