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Residents cherish Nixon's ties to cityby Bruce Bailey,
Yorba Linda Star April 28 1994 page 1
Many years ago, a member of the Yorba Linda Elementary School District decided to hold off demolishing what he called “just a junky old house.” And through his arguments, the board voted to preserve the birthplace of Richard M. Nixon.
Herb Warren, also a member of Yorba Linda's first City Council and its fifth mayor, thus became linked to the 37th president.
“Nixon was vice president then and I figured that as many other birthplaces became famous if their occupants became president we should hold on to the house,” he said.
Warren said Nixon put Yorba Linda on the map.
“The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace will be a mecca for historians,” Warren said.
Resident Marilyn Marshburn's link to Nixon runs through her husband's grandfather.
“My husband's grandfather, William, was the doctor who delivered Nixon,” Marshburn said.
Marshburn's daughter, Lynette Ilerton said her fondest memory was attending a White House dinner following Nixon's inauguration.
“My best memory was when Nixon played the piano for us.
“He played Beethoven's `For Elise,'” Ilerton said.
Frank Marshburn, Don's father, was linked to Nixon through Harold, his (Nixon's) oldest brother, whom Marshburn played with.
“(Richard) Nixon was five years younger than me and you know how it is with not wanting younger brothers around,” Marshburn sad.
Robert Cochran's mother, Ellen Anderson, was Nixon's second grade teacher at the Yorba Linda Grammar School.
“My mother always remarked about how quick Nixon picked up his studies,” Cochran said.
“She used to tell me that by the time she got finished explaining an assignment to the class, Nixon was finished.”
Cochran said his mother soon began assigning Nixon third grade work and by the end of the year Nixon was doing fourth-grade assignments.
“Nixon did three years of work in one year,” Cochran said.
Bob Meador, a member of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce and member of the Library & Birthplace Foundation, forged his link to Nixon during numerous planning sessions regarding the library.
“The words I would use to describe Nixon are warm, personable, caring and concerned,” Meador said.
Sterling Fox, a Yorba Linda Water District director, was the superintendent of the Yorba Linda Elementary School District when he first met Nixon.
Fox said that because Nixon's birthplace had been bought by the district, Nixon wrote and told Fox he planned a campaign trip to his birthplace.
“We had a welcoming committee arranged. But when Nixon arrived, he bypassed the committee, jumped atop a flatbed truck and addressed the audience. He then leaped down and went into the crowd shaking hands,” Fox said.
City Councilman Henry Wedaa, instrumental in getting the library located in Yorba Linda, said of Nixon's death: “His passing is the end of an era. He was a giant among presidents and will long be remembered as one of the best presidents of this century.”
Frieda Smith, former president of the Yorba Linda Senior Citizens Club, said, “He (Nixon) never forgot anyone from Yorba Linda.”
Cochran remembers when he was a Scoutmaster for North Orange County Boy Scout Council and was in Washington to meet then Vice President Nixon. But, because the vice president traditionally opens the Senate, Cochran said the boys were told Nixon couldn't meet them.
“We were disappointed but then suddenly, here comes Nixon yelling, `Hi Bob, how are you.'
Cochran said that after recovering his poise, he asked Nixon about his duty in opening the Senate.
“Nixon said, `I always do that. (Sen.) Bob (Knowland) can do it.'
“Nixon then asked each boy his name and asked about their parents,” Cochran said.
Roland Bigonger, the city's first mayor and member of the Library and Birthplace Foundation, said: “I believe that in this century Nixon will be noted as one of the presidents who made quite a mark. Yorba Linda is going to miss him.”
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