Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dr. Lynne Emery (1937-2011)

Saturday I attended a memorial service for my friend Lynne. She passed away a while ago from cancer. Ever the athlete, and strong-willed, I think we all thought she would beat it - out of sheer determination. But such was not to be.

In this rather poor image you can see her smiling, looking directly at the camera with what to me was her signature haircut. Her clothes are big on her since she lost so much weight and muscle mass, but she is surrounded by young people and happily encouraging them to keep digging further.

Yesterday several of us from the archives were at a memorial luncheon at Brookside Club remembering Lynne. The printed memorial program was rather like Lynne. Not a lot of fuss, instead, mindful care to detail. There were short lists in place of paragraphs of prose. A random sampling -
1958-M.S., University of California, Los Angeles; 1971-Ph.D., University of Southern California; 1972-Black Dance in the United States; 1968-1997, Professor, Cal Poly Pomona.

Lynne's "Not" list - compiled by her family
Not a member of any organized religion
Not a fan of most politicians
Not a microwave or cell phone owner
Not a glad sufferer of fools
Not meek in expressing opinions
Not a regular movie goer
Not a crowd follower
Not a fan of golfing (but a fan of a golfer)
Not shy in promoting women's causes

Lynne was a part of Pasadena that preserves our history and our experiences much as those who preserve the architectural integrity of a historic neighborhood like Bungalow Heaven. Her work in the archives and as a teacher, in both formal and informal settings, has helped to preserve the character of this town that I call home.

Her friendship has made a mark on who I am as an individual and as a researcher. So the image of Lynne may be fuzzy but her impact on my life is clear and will be long lasting.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about this. I was fortunate to have been in several of Dr. Emery's classes at Cal Poly Pomona some years ago. I also lived close to her in Pasadena and would see her about town from time to time.

    She is definitely one of those professors that made an impact. I can personally attest to the fact that she was neither a "glad sufferer of fools" or "meek in expressing opinions." She taught her students to be the same.

    What a great tribute to someone who will be greatly missed.

  2. Steph,
    I'm sorry you learned of her passing in this way. She was very special. Her memories are, too. I'm glad that you and she had a chance to know each other.