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Yvette Burton - Rest In Peace - 2012 - Part X of “I Survived Washington Irving JHS”
YVETTE BURTON - REST IN PEACE - 2012 - The following is part of a series of articles written by Michael Leavitt about his real life experiences at Washington Irving Junior High School in Los Angeles, California from 1974-1976. The events are true and have been documented to help Michael's family better understand the racial tensions he endured during that era. If you haven't read the previous 9 entries, then I invite you to enjoy them when you have time.
“DAD, WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE FOR YOU IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL?”
CHAPTER 10 - YVETTE BURTON - REST IN PEACE - 2012
As I look back on my junior high school years, there are a handful of smiles that made my younger years light up. Yvette Burton provided just such light. Several times over the decades I would open my yearbooks from Washington Irving Junior High School in East Los Angeles and see her signature and once again see her smile...
Yvette was one of the most actively involved students in our class. A school journalist for the yearbook and newsletter, a student body leader, and member of the Irving drill team. Yes, all of us young men loved drill team day as well because they all looked so adorable in the royal blue and white outfits with the goldish yellow trim. And to this day, I still love those school colors.
One of the major difficulties of graduating junior high school from Washington Irving was that the students were split 3 completely different directions. Some went to Marshall High School to the north, while many want to Franklin High School to the southeast, and many went to Eagle Rock High School directly to the east. I felt I hit the jackpot that I could avoid Franklin and enroll into Eagle Rock, but many of my good friends were geographically bound to go to Marshall, never to be heard from again. Yes we had phones. Yes we had US mail. But since we still could not drive and we were socially ripped apart, the friendships immediately ended. This was compounded when my Dad moved us to Pomona later the same year. The 35 miles could have just as easily been across the Atlantic Ocean. Yvette Burton was one of those that went to Marshall...
HEARING THE NEWS OF YVETTE'S PASSING - When social networking exploded onto the scene I knew that I could use it to my advantage and find some of those friends lost in my past... It was fellow Irving classmate Billy Graham, via Facebook, that shared with me Yvette Burton's passing. I was both shocked and dumbfounded. Billy shared that a friend of his that went to Marshall had read of her passing on the John Marshall group page. That was the news I did not want to hear. I investigated further and found the Facebook group page that shared the info and carefully read each comment...
Yes, here are the comments reformatted so that the text can be found by search engines later when somebody else tries to locate information about Yvette...
Karen Snyder Beas
September 16, 2012 near Burbank, CA · In honor of Yvette... Best Dimples!
September 16-October 9, 2012
Bob Runningfox Gurule - wow I an so sorry to here this RIP Yvette
Karen Snyder Beas - Great picture!!
Susan Fontana Qonsul - So sorry to hear this
Luis Mendiola - It's always sad to read that a classmate has passed away. RIP Yvette Burton.
Suzy Jones-Rogers - RIP Yvette Burton - my condolences to her family
Tonya Claycomb - Teddy and Yvette are together in heaven. Rest in peace Beautiful Yvette.
Nicca Ray - What happened to Teddy?
Brad Yuen - Teddy passed away around 20 years ago.
Nicca Ray - Oh no. How?
Artiste Gianpiero F. Leone - So sad to hear this. RIP Yvette.
Jerome Puttler - My best wishes to her family, I have not seen her in a long time, but I will always remember her.
Carlean Margaret Bissell - So sad.
Enrique Marin - OMG Sorry to hear this about Yvette Burton
Jocelyn Menck Mustain - Miss Teddy and Yvette!
Susan Smith Lindsey - so sad
Martha Pena Pastor - THIS IS MARTHA PENA ONE OF YVETTE BURTON'S BEST FRIENDS OF 30 YEARS AS SHE WAS MY BROTHER RALPH PENA'S GIRLFRIEND FOR MANY YEARS AND WE BECAME BEST FRIENDS THEN WHEN SHE WAS WITH MY BROTHERS AND MAINTAINED AS BEST FRIENDS FOR THE PAST 30 YEARS...WE HAVE AMAZING MEMORIES TOGETHER AND I LAST TALKED TO HER 2 WEEKS AGO AS EVERY TWO WEEKS WE TALK ON THE PHONE AND CATCH UP....AS I HAVE LIVED IN SOUTHERN, FLORIDA FOR 19 YEARS....YVETTE WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL HUMAN BEING, DAUGHTER, MOTHER, BEST FRIEND AND I WILL TRULY MISS HER AS HER DEATH CAME VERY SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED ON 9/11 WHEN SHE PASSED.
Jeannette Popp - My heart is sad
Jeannette Popp - What happened?
RichardnAngie Ponce - Does anyone know what happened?
Kim-Shree Maufas - Thank you Martha Pena for sharing that with us. And Brad Yuen - the picture is just wonderful.
Martha Pena Pastor - SINCE WE WERE BEST FRIENDS OF 30 YEARS AND SPOKE ON THE PHONE EVERY TWO WEEKS RAIN OR SHINE....I CAN SAY IS THAT SHE PASSED PEACEFULLY.....TODAY SUNDAY 9/23 PLEASE KEEP YVETTE IN YOUR PRAYERS AND HER FAMILY AS THEY WILL BE HAVING A MEMORIAL FOR HER WITH JUST HER VERY BEST FRIENDS AND FAMILY....MARTHA PENA.
Jim Rocky Tsar - What a loss....May GOD Rest Yvettes soul....
Evangeline Benchek - Bless her beautiful soul - thank you for sharing Brad.
Leslie O'Connor - I am so sorry to hear about Yvette. I knew her brother Michael. Does anyone have any contact information for him?
Karen Snyder Beas -In honor of Yvette... Best Dimples!
I reached out to Yvette's friend Martha Pena for more details about her passing...
Martha, I stumbled upon the news that Yvette Burton had passed away in 2012. She was a good friend of mine back at Washington Irving Junior High in Los Angeles. I read all of the comments on the Marshall Facebook page and still found nothing about how she died and/or who she left behind. Was any information ever released other than is was unexpected? I have also found no obituary accounts. I have several friends from that era that would like to know more. Any details you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance... Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah
Martha Pena - Pastor - Hello Michael, Yes, Yvette (Evie) passed away just like that! We spoke at least 3 times a week for the past 30 years. She was my youngest brother Ralph's girlfriend for over 5 years and lived with me over 3 years in my house when I still lived in California. She had a pain on her side, so she went to the emergency, and they admitted her that night for observation only, and she just passed away in her sleep. According to what her dad and mom told me she had kidney failure just like that, yet never had anything wrong with her kidneys. She left at the time her daughter who was 18 not 20 and was living with her mom and dad, for years after her divorce to the father of her daughter. I was torn apart as she was more than my brothers ex-girlfriend and part of our family, but my sister whom I shared 30 years of my life with and lived with me. Yes, they posted information on her through JMHS, our High School, but her funeral was very private and kept that way. Hope this helps, as I miss her dearly! Had talked to her the day before on the phone, as I said we talked at least 3 times a week for the past 30 years. Blessings, Marty Pena
Brad Yuen - Rest in Peace Yvette Burton. Class of 79
This was a hard blog entry for me to format and compile. Doing so causes me much sadness that I was too late, while here in mortality, to reconnect with Yvette and reflect back on our lives. Yvette's smile and dimples were a fixture on the 9th grade wall for the members of the Class of 1976 Dreamers. My heart was warmed as I viewed the two high school photos of her while attending Marshall ( see above images). The two photos nail my memories of her as she was always smiling, even amidst despair. I fondly remember her relating to me a personal struggle and my catching a tear rolling out of the corner of her right eye... Her spirit was tender and pure during those formative years and I am glad to have been a part of them.
If she has kids, or if her parents are still alive, then I will do my best to find them and let them know wht a great Mom/Daughter they have.
I will continue to reach out and try to find others with photos and experiences they would like to share about Yvette's life and add them to this entry... Marriage? Kids? Great Life Events? Yvette Burton is one of the great people in my life that I look forward to seeing when it is my turn to pass through the veil and leave this mortality. Until then, I will rely upon the photos and the memories... Rest in peace Yvette!!!
Do you have an Yvette Burton memory that you would like to share?
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - Michael@TheHomeInspector.com
NOTE: Washington Irving Junior High School was 7th, 8th, and 9th grades during my 1974-76 tenure. I see that it is now named Washington Irving Middle School and features 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I wish the change happened decades ago and I could have completed 9th grade at the much more impressive and friendly Eagle Rock High School.
NOTE 2: Washington Irving has changed again. The internet shows it is now called the Irving Magnet School and is painted white and vibrant blue and features grades 5th through 8th. LINK
What are your thoughts?
BILLY GRAHAM - 11/8/2014 - Nice tribute, Mike. I ran into Yvette in Arcadia in '12. Had a couple of very nice conversations. Professionally, I think she was approaching the top of her game. She was doing a great job in the marketing field. Found her very dynamic. RIP