Eva was a beautiful, petite brunette woman who'd been a beautiful girl. At the time of her death on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Paso Robles, CA. Eva was named Eva Ellen Johnson-Norby.
Eva's first husband and the great enduring love of her life was Robert (Bob) Handsfield, her Class of 1942 boyfriend at Anaheim Union High School. Eva and Bob had two children, our friend Dr. Rod Handsfield, MD, '67 and his sister Heidi. Bob died suddenly of a heart attack in approximately 1969, and Eva remained a widow for many decades.
Eventually she married Fern Drive neighborhood friend Cornelius (Corny) Norby, father of former Fullerton mayor and Orange County supervisor Chris Norby, FUHS Class of 1968. Mr. Norby had also been one of Bob Handsfield's closest friends. In time, Mr. Norby died, and later Eva married Mr. Johnson.
All of Rod's friends will remember Eva well as a sweet woman who'd answer the back door and chat with us when we went over. She and Bob lived in a house he'd designed and built himself at the southeast corner of Fern Drive and Arroyo, near Crestview. Often Bob and Rod worked on cars in the driveway, and sometimes a group of us young visitors would stand alongside making jokes and enjoying Bob's jolly sense of humor and Rod's quips as a chip off the old block.
Eva grew up in east Anaheim on Coffman Avenue, named for my mom's great uncles from Hays, Kansas. Mom lived across the street and Larry Comstock's dad lived on Eva's side, too. It was a bucolic little neighborhood then, two miles from the city high school, with orchards all around, eucalyptus windbreaks, and mountains to the northeast that seemed only a few miles away on clear days, probably 300 out of 365 a year. The only street farther east was Placentia Avenue -- about 200 feet from Coffman -- which ran north and south, becoming Cypress Avenue in Fullerton, and eventually State College Boulevard. Placentia Avenue then was traveled mostly by trucks with citrus crews, and larger packinghouse trucks, only 1 or 2 an hour.
Eva was exceptionally kind to me, and always asked how my mom was: "How's Margie, Paul?" Bob asked, too, and my mom's brother and sister remembered Eva fondly all their lives. My Aunt Louise would see Eva at AUHS reunions and they'd talk as old friends. As I said, Eva was a striking beauty although a quiet, shy girl and woman utterly without pretense or affectation. She was named Miss Anaheim in 1942.
She was 91 when she died, and her final arrangements proceeded under the direction of Kuel-Nicolay Funeral Home of Paso Robles, CA where she lived for many years.