Members of the Westchester Family YMCA are mourning the loss of Clyde Vernon Grant, Jr. — one of the founders of the Westchester Family YMCA in 1952.

Clyde passed away Tuesday, March 1st, at the age of 93.

He donated his time to many organizations in Westchester.

He joined the YMCA in 1922 and had been involved with various YMCA activities for 70 years.

The Y met in a barbershop, the Westchester Townhouse and the Covenant Presbyterian Church before funds were raised to build the Y. Clyde was there, working to support the Y during this time.

He served on the Y board of managers since its inception, was Y treasurer twice, was chairman of both the Finance and the Property Management Committees, and in 1963 was chairman of the Y’s annual Fund Raising Committee.

Donors gave to the campaign each year because Clyde made a personal visit to them.

In rain or shine, you received your card from Clyde on your doorstep letting you know he would be calling on you soon for a gift to the Y campaign.

What made Clyde such a great volunteer of the Y is that he remembered everything — every name of YMCA leaders who came and went, and every donor who gave him a gift for the Y.

He appreciated all of these people.

When he was ailing, he still thought about the Y and how he could help.

In 1983, the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles voted Clyde into its Golden Book of Distinguished Service.

Last June 4th, Clyde was given the Hugo A. Francis Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was born in Sherman, Texas on June 28th, 1911, the only child of Clyde and Marietta Grant. He lived in Sherman during his early childhood and moved to California in 1922.

He graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1930, not knowing that his future wife had attended the same school.

He attended UCLA and then went to work for Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica in January 1934, where he met his wife-to-be, Audrey, at a company Christmas party in 1936.

Because of World War II, Clyde was asked in December 1941, by Douglas to move to its new aircraft plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He proposed to Audrey and they were married May 3, 1942 at the Westwood Community Methodist Church. Shortly after the marriage, they moved to Oklahoma and lived there during the war.

In August 1945, a son named Terrill (Terry) was born. The Grant family drove back to California in May 1946, and moved into a house in Westchester in 1947.

In 1948, a baby daughter, Luana, was born.

“The sad news is almost unbelievable to me,” said Mary Ellen Cassman, chair of the YMCA’s board of managers.

“Clyde was so much a part of our Y Annual Support Campaign that it almost cannot exist without him — or so it seems.

“No one actually went face-to-face with as many people as did Clyde.

“Over the many years he built an army of followers who, because if his charm and salesmanship and conviction persistence, were willing to support — with money and with time — our Westchester Family YMCA.”

Clyde was also active in the Westchester United Methodist Church. He and Audrey started attendance there in 1948.

He was a member of the church Finance and Trustees Committees, served on the committee to raise funds to build the sanctuary building, was a member of the committee that located and bought a parsonage in 1963, chaired the Church Council and the Men’s Club and was an usher during Sunday morning services.

He also found time to sing in the church choir for more than 30 years.

Clyde retired from McDonnell Douglas Corporation in December, 1974 after 41 years of service.

He also served on the Santa Monica High Alumni Association board of directors in 1992.

STAR PARTY — For the fifth year, stargazers in Westchester will gather in the parking lot of the First Church of Christ, Scientist between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., Friday, March 18th, to check out some spectacular views of Saturn, Jupiter and the moon.

The church is at 7855 Alverstone Ave. in Westchester.

Amateur astronomers will help children and others take a look at the planets Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, which will all be visible in the evening sky if the sky is clear.

Bob Eklund and his astronomer friends will have telescopes set up for public viewing. If you haven’t looked at the sky through a high-quality telescope before, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Eklund is a lifelong amateur astronomer and one of the founders of the Mount Wilson Observatory Association, a public-membership support group for the Mount Wilson Observatory.

Other amateur astronomers who participate in the star parties are members of local amateur astronomy clubs and other local residents who enjoy putting up telescopes and sharing the sky with others.

“It’s especially rewarding to give children their first telescope view of planets and stars,” Eklund said.

There is no charge to participate.

If you or your children own a telescope, you’re welcome to bring it to the party — even if you haven’t yet learned how to use it to view the sky. Local astronomers on hand will be glad to help you set it up and show you what to do.

Information, Eklund, (310) 333-3478.

NEW BID — The Los Angeles City Council approved a request by Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski Friday, March 4th, for up to $40,000 to help create a new business improvement district (BID) on Sepulveda Boulevard between Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue.

The business improvement district will help pay for beautification efforts and maintenance of new trees that will be planted along the stretch of “downtown Westchester” as part of a $5.8 million street improvement project by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

The district’s two largest property owners, Howard Drollinger and Bill Allen, embraced the business improvement district, organized by the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association.

Together, the two are said to control more than 50 percent of the properties along that portion of Sepulveda Boulevard and have agreed to be taxed — along with all other property owners in the district — to fund the improvement district.

The money approved unanimously by the Los Angeles City Council comes from the city Business Improvement District Trust Fund and is specifically designed to help get districts like this off the ground.

The funds will be spent on preparing the required reports and generally coordinating the process for establishing the business district.

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