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I was lucky to get to know Earline Mountjoy. I say I was lucky in that she was not an easy person to get to know, not that she was unpleasant. Quite the opposite. Earline was a quiet person who was content to be a supporter of the things she loved rather than the star.
First on that list of things she supported was her husband Dick, followed closely by the rest of her family especially her children Michael, Dennis and Judy. Her good friend Peggy Mew wrote of her “A quiet, behind the scenes supporter of many projects, Earline never wanted to be in the limelight.”
But never assume that this stay at home Mom was a push over. She was the strength and backbone of her family supporting them in every way she could. Her son Dennis said that “Mom was most proud of her family and keeping us together.” This may not have been such as easy task as she was both a political wife and the mother of a politician.
Her husband of 57 years, Dick, was a councilman in Monrovia and served as its mayor several times. He went on to represent the district first in the Assembly and later in the State Senate. Their son, Dennis, followed in his father’s footsteps in the Assembly. And Earline was always there to support them and keep them in line.
She did support them in every way she could. What would a Mountjoy fundraising political Bar-B-Que be without “Earline’s Beans” (I do hope someone learned how to make these Best in the World Baked Beans) or a Christmas party at their house without that wonderful cheesy, spicy dip the name of which was bound to turn people off until they tried it?
And she had strong opinions of her own, but never forced them on anyone. She just moved forward with a quiet assurance in her family and her family and with a strength she gained from her faith in God. She loved her family, her home and Monrovia which according to Mew, she called “God’s Country” and I always through she was talking about the United States.
She was a patriot and a dedicated supporter of her husband and son’s political ambitions. She also had a delightfully, sometimes wicked (but only among friends), sense of humor. She loved practical jokes and would laugh along with others at those perpetrated upon her.
I remember the year I convinced her that Dick was going to be the Grand Marshall of the Monrovia Christmas Parade. It wasn’t until she was seated in the car that we removed the signs for Dick replacing them with the ones which indicated she was the Grand Marshall. Many people were touched when Dick kept his arm around her throughout the parade. They thought it was affection; he was keeping her from bolting from the car. But eventually she forgave me.
Earline attended the Sierra Madre Congregational Church for many years and lived her faith. She was an active volunteer with the Children’s Hospital Guild as well as volunteering at Arcadia Hospital, telephoning shut-ins and visiting those who could not be reached on the phone.
She loved gardening, cooking and entertaining. Those beans and the “Monkey Vomit Dip” along with her legendary mountains of cookies and luscious pies will never be forgotten. She once even baked a 6 foot long cake in the shape of the state of California to celebrate the passage of reapportionment.
Earline was born in Searcy, Arkansas, and moved with her family to California when she was a few weeks old. She married Dick, her high school sweetheart shortly before graduating from Monrovia Arcadia Duarte High School (MAD).
Earline will be missed by her husband, retired Senator Dick Mountjoy, son Michael and daughter-in-law Suzie Mountjoy, son former Assemblyman,Dennis Mountjoy, daughter Judy and son-in-law Gary Schaeffler, grandchildren Tammy and Trevor Whittemore, Michael and Nicholas Mountjoy, Heidi and Richard Stevens, Tyler and Kyle Schaeffler and great-grandchildren Diego, Sarah, Richard, Summer, and Lelia sister Evelyn Thompson and her many friends. While I will miss Earline, I am glad that I knew her and am now only sorry for those of you who did not have the chance to do so.
The service for Earline was held Thursday, November 5th at 10:00 a.m. at Sierra Madre Congregational Church, 170 W Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Graveside at Live Oak Memorial Park, 200 E Duarte, Monrovia, Reception followed at the Aztec Hotel, 311 W. Foothill Blvd., in Monrovia.