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Margaret Johnsen Bromfield

Education advocate, avid volunteer, Dodgers fan

Love of family and friends as well as a tireless dedication to community volunteerism help define Margaret “Marge” Johnsen Bromfield, who died peacefully on April 17, 2014. She was 91 years old.

She was born on December 29, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, the third of six children. In 1967, young Marge moved to California, where she met Stephen H. Bromfield. The two were married in 1970. Mr. Bromfield preceded his wife in death in 1999, but was always in her heart. 

When asked why she moved to California, Mrs. Bromfield would smile and say “Because that is where my Dodgers went.” 

She was not a person who understood the words “you can’t,” family shared. Mrs. Bromfield taught her children to have the same conviction when it came to facing challenges in their lives or trying new things. She instilled in her children the love of community, volunteerism, family, Frank Sinatra and, of course, her beloved Dodgers.

Mrs. Bromfield retired from Bonita Unified School District where she was the Coordinator of Child Welfare & Attendance, a position she had previously held at Claremont Unified School District. Mrs. B., as many called her, felt strongly that children need a good education. In fact, her passion landed her coverage in a 1986 Los Angeles Times article.

At the time, kids were not being held culpable for excessive absences, a development that left school districts powerless to stem the growing tide of truancy. Of the 24 truancy cases the attendance review boards of the Bonita and Claremont school districts brought to the Probation Department during the previous year, none had been reviewed in Juvenile Court.

So when the spring of 1986 rolled around and it was discovered that a 14-year-old Bonita High School student had missed all but four days of school, Mrs. Bromfield spearheaded an effort to hold the mother accountable.  

The case of the La Verne mom, who allegedly refused to respond to numerous interventions, was filed with the deputy district attorney in Pomona. In April, the woman was tried at the Pomona Municipal Court where she was found guilty of permitting her daughter to miss so much school.

The ruling, which carried a $100 fine, was one of only five similar decisions to have been made in Los Angeles County over the previous two years. The district agreed to wave the fee should the girl’s attendance improve. The teen, according to the story, had been in her classes every day in the two weeks since the ruling, with her mother accompanying her on the walk to school.

Hard work did not end with retirement for Mrs. Bromfield. She had a love of all things community, from volunteering in the schools to supporting charities to working on political campaigns. 

She and her family were very proud of the work she did as a member of the Claremont Committee on Human Relations and as a chairwoman and volunteer with numerous Claremont City Council and Claremont Unified School District Board of Education campaigns.

Mrs. Bromfield was also chair of the School Attendance Review Board and the American Field Services’ Student Placement Committee, and was a member of the Los Angeles County Supervisor’s Committee on Children and of the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare & Attendance.

Mrs. Bromfield was deeply involved in her own children’s schooling, serving as PFA president for Claremont High School. Numerous other causes drew Mrs. Bromfield’s attention. These included membership in the Pomona Valley Medical Center Volunteer and Auxiliary Board, Holiday Homes for Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, House of Ruth, Shoes that Fit, the Inland Valley Council of Churches and the League of Woman Voters.

Mrs. Bromfield and her late husband were also involved in Claremont Presbyterian Church, and the International Place of The Claremont Colleges. The couple hosted several students from Japan over the years, and enjoyed opening their home to serve Thanksgiving dinner to international students. 

Her door was always open and Mrs. B. was an advisor and confidante to many, welcoming anyone who needed a place to stop for a meal, a cup of coffee or a friend. She received great joy in having a house full of friends and in watching her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow.

Mrs. Bromfield is survived by her sister, Helen Patricia Burke of Ireland; by her daughter, Penny Myrdal of Rancho Cucamonga; by her son and daughter-in-law, Guy and Peggy Johnsen of Anaheim, and by her daughter and son-in-law, Nancy Bromfield Scheid and Scott Scheid of Monterey.

She also leaves her grandson and his wife, Brian and Beth Myrdal of Salt Lake City; her grandson Craig Myrdal of Denver; her granddaughters, Kira and Chloe Scheid of Monterey, and her great-granddaughters, Riley and McKenna Myrdal of Salt Lake City.

A celebration of Mrs. Bromfield’s life will be held on Sunday, May 18 at 3 p.m. at Claremont Place, 120 W. San Jose Ave. in Claremont. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you make a donation in memory of Marge J. Bromfield to the Claremont Educational Foundation, 112 Harvard Ave. #191, Claremont, CA 91711.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Claremont Place for their kind and loving care of Marge for over seven years.

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