NameG. Louise BRAUNWALDER [475], [480]
Birth18 Apr 1908, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California [480]
Death8 May 2007, St. George,, Utah [480] Age: 99
Burial14 May 2007, Santa Ana,, California [480]
Misc. Notes
1. Dale May’s remarks about his mother, G. Louise May Siler, for her funeral service to be held May 14, 2007, in Waverley Chapel, Santa Ana, California. Louise died about 4:30 p.m., May 8 at her home in the Winchester Hills community of St. George, Utah:
“I think it’s appropriate that we return Mom to California soil. First of all, she’ll be in a resting place right next to Dad, her loving husband of more than 50 years. And that was her wish. But also because she was born in Los Angeles almost a hundred years ago on April 18, 1908, and she spent most of her life in California locations. Mom was the only native Californian in the 6-member Braunwalder family. Her father John immigrated from Switzerland when he was ten.  And her mother Helen...or Nelle as she was called...was from Indiana.  John was a structural engineer and inventor by trade, and his work in designing building structures and other products including automobiles, aircraft engines, and typesetting machines took the family to such distant locations as Chicago.  That’s where Mom’s older sister, Virginia, and younger sister, Phyllis, and her older brother Robert were born.  And also to Birmingham, Alabama, where her father did design work for steel mills back in the early 20s. And also to California cities of Los Angeles, Redondo, and Hollywood. It was in Hollywood that Mom went to high school, and she graduated from Hollywood High in 1925.  She continued her education at UCLA, and she told me she practically lived on Hershey bars while in college because the Braunwalder family was financially strapped at that time. During that same time she assisted in behind-the-scenes work on Hollywood motion pictures like quite a few of our close relatives.  She learned the basics of sewing from her mother Nelle, who was a noted seamstress for motion picture costume design for many years during Hollywood’s heyday. Mom has laughed about the time that she was called on to urgently sew buttons on a lot of thick military uniforms that were to be used in a battle film.  As she related the episode to me, “I sewed them on well so they wouldn’t come off, but they were on so tight that the actors wouldn’t be able to button their uniforms.  This had to be remedied quickly,” she said, “and fortunately Mother covered for me.”

Once Mom graduated from UCLA with her Bachelor’s degree in Education and earned her junior high and elementary school teaching credentials, she headed off to Brawley in California’s Imperial Valley where she taught children of Mexican migrant workers...everything from language and penmanship to music. While in Brawley, she became engaged to Dad, and they were married in a ceremony at their parent’s home in Los Angeles on Sept. 12, 1931.  They were among the earliest residents of San Clemente, and Walder came along about that time in 1934...and then me in 1936 when they moved to Compton as a result of Dad becoming manager of the Bank of America there. Mom’s activities in Compton centered around her children – Walder and me – as she served as president of the school PTA and den mother for a cub scout pack. During World War II, Mom was active in the USO...that arranged recreation events for members of the Armed Forces, and she served as Victory Garden chairwoman for the city of Compton. I mentioned that she learned sewing from a professional seamstress – her mother – and that became one of her favorite pastimes.  She made a lot of our family clothing – even some from design-printed feed sacks as I emptied them in my backyard poultry enterprise. I remember she used to help nurse baby chicks from my poultry brooder that got sick by putting them in the oven of her stove – at a low temperature, of course!  And I told her not long ago how much I appreciated her other efforts like staying up very late or into the morning hours to do mending, washing, and ironing when I made weekend trips home from Cal Poly.  After doing that, she’d be up at 4 in the morning to cook my breakfast and see me off. Gardening became one of Mom’s many hobbies, as was painting – and she was an accomplished oil painter – and also decorating and arranging flowers.  She taught flower arranging and she grew and harvested many of the flowers used.  She loved hiking, camping, and fishing, and she was the one who had the patience to untangle my lines.  Mom loved to read, especially about natural history, botanical subjects, and American Indians, and I was always amazed how she could finish off a book sometimes overnight.
Square dancing was another favorite pastime, and Mom and Dad formed a life-long bond with a group of really wonderful people – the “Whirlers” they were called.  Mom and Dad not only danced and taught steps but also provided the music and arranged for callers.  The big paved area behind our house in Compton was the site for many of these events. They lived in Compton for about 35 years while Dad was manager of the bank there. Then, in years after his retirement...they moved to El Toro, California, where Mom continued to live after Dad died in 1982.  The year before he died, though, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family trip to Hawaii, which included their children and grandchildren.  We all had a great time.  Walder and Carolyn’s son David – who was quite young then and the youngest member of our party – suddenly came down with chickenpox and a minister helped cure him quickly with the gel from a huge aloe plant that grew next to the church wall. While Mom was living alone, she did quite a lot of traveling, just as she had done with Dad.  It included some fun and educational cruises that she and I took to Alaska and up the Mississippi. Her interest in ham radio, which David stimulated, led to a special friendship with Harry Siler some time after he had lost his wife, Roberta.  She was Mom’s cousin, by the way.  It wasn’t too long before Mom called me and said, “Hang on to your hat....Harry and I are going to be married.” And they were...soon after that...on November 11, 1986.  They spent a good life together in the nice clean air and forests of Lake Almanor.  And they lived, also, in Chico when the snow was deep at Almanor.  Her marriage to Harry lasted more than ten years until he succumbed to illness in May of 1997. Then Walder and Carolyn and I convinced Mom that St. George, Utah, would be a good choice of locations for the next stage of her life.  She agreed to finally leave the California that she loved and had a home built in Utah near Walder and Carolyn’s family home.  Mom has told me many times in phone conversations across the country how much she has enjoyed her Utah home out in the desert next to beautiful Snow Canyon.
While there during the past ten years, she’s continued to be active in the P.E.O sisterhood and was recognized for 50 years of service to P.E.O in 2002.  There are various chapters around the country, and Mom was a member of a few different ones as she moved to different places.  Their main goal is to promote educational opportunities for women through loans, grants, and scholarships. Mom has needed some extra help at home during the past few years...but over the course of many years, she was the one doing most of the helping to all of us May family members and the children of those families. I can’t think of anyone who has been more loving than Mom has been.  She’s found a lot of happiness and created a lot of happiness for others during all the different stages of her life...when she was growing up with the Braunwalder family, with Dad and the May family members, and with Harry Siler for ten years.  And more recently, living for a decade in her comfortable home in the attractive Utah desert, with loved ones helping her out and enjoying her company.
     Before I left St. George last month, I left a Mother’s Day gift and card for her.  Since yesterday was the day, I’d like to read the card... “Mom, you’ve always done your very best to make our home so full of love.  That’s one of the many reasons you’re loved so much.” Thanks, Mom, for all you’ve done for all of us.  We’ll treasure all the memories. As Mom used to tell me in each phone call across the country -- and I told her back... and also in the card... here’s a big hug!

And a big hug for all of you who have known her and loved her.”
Death1982 [474]
BurialSanta Ana,, California [480]
Marriage12 Sep 1931, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California [474], [480]
Death1997 [474]
Marriage1986 [474]
Last Modified 19 May 2007Created 7 Mar 2011 Mark C. Wakenshaw