Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Eileen Marie Blanchard

Eileen Marie (Miller) Blanchard was born in Mexia, TX, on August 20, 1924, which meant she shared her birthdate with her mother, Anna Lenore Price, who was born on August 20, 1896. At a very young age, the family moved to Chicago where they lived until she was 12 years old; the family then moved west, finally settling in the Los Angeles area.

At the age of 16, Eileen started teaching Sunday School and continued teaching for well over 60 years. She loved her church and teaching the Bible to children was very important to her. She also loved her weekly Bible Study. In 1992, she joined the Care Circle Ministry at Grace Baptist where she visited parishioners who could not attend the weekly services. Ironically, in the last several months, she was visited by Care Circle people.

Eileen spent most of her career in the investment field. During the last 13 years before retiring in 1990, she was the office manager of a local company that provided administrative services to citrus and avocado farmers.

In February, 1965, while attending United Community Church in Glendale, Eileen met the love of her life, Merle Blanchard. They were married on July 22, 1967, and enjoyed their marriage for the next 34-1/2 years until Merle’s death on March14, 2002. They were truly in love with each other and celebrated every anniversary in their life: the anniversary of the day they met, the anniversary of their first kiss, the anniversary of their first date; whatever the anniversary, Merle always found the perfect card. And now she is re-united with Merle.

In 1945, at age 21 (which was the minimum voting age then), she joined the Republican Party because she wanted to vote against President Roosevelt who was running for a fourth term. She saw the peril of holding elected office too long even before Congress did; "term limits" became the law of the land shortly after his re-election. Throughout her entire adult life she worked as a volunteer with the Republican Women Federated. Through her more than 25 years with the Santa Clarita chapter, she served in most of the group’s offices including being president of the club in 2008. She had also been 1st Vice President - Programs; 3rd VP - Membership; Parliamentarian; Chaplain; Hospitality Chairman; and Americanism Chairman, which was one of her favorite positions because she could help educate about historical things she thought all Americans should know.  Dear to her heart, because of its educational value, was the club’s newsletter, The Trunkline. She was editor for 7 years, and then continued as a mentor and the "eagle-eyed" proof-reader up through the January 2014 issue. The group called her "eagle-eye" because she was such a good proof-reader, catching things no one else did.  Over the years, she registered hundreds of voters, mostly in Santa Clarita, but also at the LA County Fair. On Election Day, you would find her enjoying working at a polling place, welcoming citizens who were exercising their patriotic duty. She was an informed citizen as it was her normal practice to watch the local City Council meetings on TV as well as the Board of Supervisor’s meetings.

She received letters from Presidents she had written to, yes, even Democrats, including: Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. She also received letters from Betty Ford, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton.

Eileen’s passions were for her God and her Country.  She was a great American, and enjoyed being involved in politics.   She received many honorariums, awards, certificates, and other accolades from city, county, state, and federal elected officials for her decades of service. Both the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the City of Santa Clarita adjourned recent meetings honoring her service to the communities.

As holidays approached, you could find Eileen packing boxes or tying quilts for the military to be sent overseas through Prayer Angels for the Military or Blue Star Mothers.

Eileen became involved in the Homeowner’s Association of Friendly Valley not long after she and Merle moved there in 1989. She was elected to the Board of Directors for many years, holding several offices. She took her positions seriously; sometimes, she was the lone voice of reason.

After her retirement in 1990, Towsley Canyon Park opened and Eileen became a charter member of the Park’s Docent Training Class. She loved sharing nature with children. After learning of Placerita Canyon Nature Center, she and Merle went on a docent-led hike. She had so much enthusiasm for the park she joined their Docent Training Class, graduating in 1992. She enjoyed many years at the Center educating children about the history, trees, plants, and animal life there. She would often take her great-grandchildren with her to the Nature Center and share with them her knowledge. Where else can a young child learn about "scat?" There is more to being a docent than leading nature hikes: she also helped with the Holiday Craft Fairs, the Open Houses, the gift shop, and the information desk.

Eileen was blessed to have lived a long and active life. She was blessed to have met her true love. And we are all blessed to having a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. Her strength was in the Lord and we take comfort in knowing we will once again be united.

Eileen was 89 years old when she passed away. She is survived by her two children, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

A private interment was held for family members at Eternal Valley Memorial Park. Eileen’s life was celebrated at Grace Baptist Church on February 8, 2014.

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