Individual Record 284

Name}   Lawyer, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Family History} Olson                 
  Title}   Race} White Sex} Female
Birth:   Date} Fam 14 Oct 1912 Place} Alhambra, Los Angeles, California
Marr.: Date} Exa 18 Aug 1936  M Place} Alhambra, Los Angeles, California     (Link)
Death: Date} Exa  1 Jul 2010 Place} San Gabriel, Los Angeles, California
Burial: Date} Aft   1 Jul 2010 Place}  
  Grave Marker}  
Source 1}   73 = Interview
Source 2} 257 = Interview
Source 3} 213 = Photograph
Source 4} 162 = Letter
Source 5} 758 = 1920 USA cen
Source 6} 751 = 1930 USA cen
Source 7} 1430=Marriage rec  
Source 8} 325 = Business Dir
Source 9} 1446=1940 USA cen
Source 10} 1245=Newspaper
Source 11} 502 = Newspaper
Source 12} 367 = Newspaper
Source 13} 503 = Newspaper
Source 14} 862 = Photograph
Source 15} 729 = Biography
Source 16} 730 = Biography
Source 17} 1106=Biography
Source 18} 680 = S.S. record
Source 19} 687 = Obituary
Parents: } Arthur A. Lawyer & Ida E. Olson
   Relationship No.} 118
1st Household No.} 261 = Alhambra, Los Angeles, California
      Occupation 1} Artist/painter
       Occupation 2} Housewife
  Religion/Church} Presbyterian
Spouses:   Prime} Kimball, Ward Walrath
 Total Number of} 1
Notes:  Mary Elizabeth Lawyer was born 14 Oct 1912 in Alhambra, California.  She was always known as Betty.  Her parents were Arthur Lawyer and Ida Olson.  Her older brother Lewis had been born in 1907, and her younger brother Richard (Dick) was born in 1915.

In 1920 and 1930 U.S. census records, the family was living at 30 N. Third Street, Alhambra.  This was their long time family residence.  Her father was a bookkeeper for the Olson Lumber Co., which was owned by her Uncle Frank Olson.  In 1930, her brother Lewis was driving a truck for the lumber company.
Betty attended Alhambra High School and went on to Pasadena College for three years.  She worked on stage productions, and in 1935 she was hired by Walt Disney Productions.  Here she worked in the ink and paint department, and it was here that she met her future husband Ward Kimball.  They were married 18 Aug 1936 in Alhambra, Los Angeles, California, by the Rev. S.J. Kennedy, a Presbyterian Minister.  She left the studios in 1939 to be a full-time mother and housewife.

Life was never dull for Betty, for in 1938 she and her husband bought a vintage 1881 steam locomotive from the defunct Nevada Central Railroad, and with the help of friends and relatives, unloaded it onto tracks on their property located at 1616* Ardendale Ave., in the unincorporated area of San Gabriel.  Betty's cousin Don Olson helped with the unloading.  This was the start of the Grizzly Flats Railroad.  In 1939, the couple built their family home at this location.  It is where they raised their three children, Kelly, John, and Chloe.

In the 1940 U.S. census, Betty and Ward had their first daughter, just one month old.  Ward was an artist in the movie industry, and had earned $5,000. in the prior year.  Betty had earned $950.  Their house was valued at $13,000.  Betty had completed three years of college, and Ward, one year.

On 23 Jan 1988, two planes collided over the San Gabriel Valley, sending one plummeting into their front yard.  Betty, Ward, and Kelly were in the house at the time, but were not injured.  Two aboard the plane were killed.  Click to enlarge

In 2004, Betty and Ward attended the 50th Wedding Anniversary party for her cousin Don Olson and his Frances.  She is seen in the photograph at right with several of her Olson cousins.

Ward died 8 Jul 2002, after having been married to Betty for 66 years.  Betty died 1 Jul 2010 at the age of 97 years.  Services were private, and it is not known where they are buried.  A wonderful tribute to Betty, with photographs, is found at

*The 1940 USA census and a 1946 newspaper article identified the address as 1616 Ardendale Road.  The houses were renumbered at some point in time, and the present address is 8910 Ardendale.
Time of Birth}   Time of Death}   Fraternal/Social}  
Baptism Date}   Place}   Click to enlarge
Confirm. Date}   Photos} Betty Kimball in 1994
Immigr'n Date} N/A Port} N/A
Education: Grade} College, 2yr   or Top 2 Degrees}  
Military: Service}                              for the State of}  
Health Condition}  
  Cause of Death}  
Last Updated
by} Karen Hancock
Date Updated} 23 Jul  2013
Date Created}    6 Sep 1993
Copyright © 2010 - 2013 by Karen L. Hancock.  All Rights Reserved.

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