Edward Dondanville, the third of eight children of Emile Dondanville and Marie Schumacher, was born in Newhall, California, August 2, 1891. His parents had arrived there from Illinois in late 1888. His father, Emile, had been granted a homestead adjacent to that to his brother. In 1896 the family moved to San Gabriel where Emile went to work for the Rudel family in their winery. In 1899 Emile acquired land near the San Gabriel Mission and constructed a house on what is now East Mission Drive. Edward was raised in that house. When he completed his schooling, he worked as a machinist in an automotive repair shop with his brother Joe and they eventually established their own business, San Gabriel Garage, across from the house on Mission Drive.
About 1915 Edward met Leona Edith Stokes. Leona, an attractive young lady, still in her 20s, had three young children. Born in Montcalm County, Michigan in 1888, she had eloped to Idaho with a man named Caruthers at the age of fourteen. There she lived in a sod house. Shortly after the birth of the third child Caruthers was killed when struck by lightning.
Leona was soon married a second time to a man named Carter who abandoned her and her three young children. She moved to California where she was married a third time to a man named Brown who died in an asylum. Edward's granddaughter, Susan, believes that when Edward met Leona in 1915 he was recovering from the tragic death of a young wife and found solace in Leona and her three young children.
Edward and Leona were married. With the three Caruthers children, Morris, Wayne, and Mercedes, they established their first home on Pearl Street in San Gabriel, across from San Gabriel Garage. Their first child, Phyllis Jane, was born there in 1916. A son, Robert August, was born in 1919. In the early 1920s, the family moved to a home on North Curtis Avenue in Alhambra. Their third child, Dorothy Marie, was born in Alhambra in 1924.
Edward died on September 6, 1936 as the result of acute peritonitis caused by a perforated ulcer. He was 45 years old, and his youngest daughter was only twelve. The loss of Ed was a difficult ordeal for Leona, with three teen-age children. She eventually remarried a man named Guthrie. Following Guthrie's death Leona married John Chessman, a man 20 years her junior. He died of cancer. Over her lifetime Leona had been married seven times to six different men, and widowed five times. She died on Mother's Day, in May 1983, at age 95.
263.1 Phyllis Dondanville, 1916 - 1983
born in San Gabriel, California, September 2, 1916. married Arnold Gallagher on July 10, 1942, no children. Phyllis became her mother's primary care giver. She died in Santa Anna, September 1983, just months after the death of mother.
263.2 Robert August Dondanville, 1919 - 1971
born in San Gabriel, February 15, 1919, married Jane Payne, August 9, 1941, in Dayton, Ohio, adopted Jane's son three-year-old son John Mac, returned to California. Two natural sons: Gary Edward, '43; and Jeffery William, '51. Robert August died in Burbank, February 6, 1971. Jane continues to live in their home in Burbank in 2004.
263.3 Dorothy Marie Dondanville, 1924 - 1983
born in Alhambra, California, April 30, 1924, married William Beever, July 21, 1944. Son Michael Lewis, born '46, and daughter Susan Elizabeth, '52. Dorothy died in March 29, 1983 in Los Angeles County, William Beever died on August 8, 1999 in Arcadia.