Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Council Member Says Goodbye to His Mother
By Jason Islas
March 21, 2013 -- Virginia Ellen Daymude, mother of Council member Bob Holbrook and one of Santa Monica's “Rosie the Riveters,” died last Tuesday after a battle with cancer. She was 92 years old.
“She devoted her life to her family,” said Holbrook. “She was always helping someone raise a kid,” even after raising four of her own.
Daymude, a native of Maine, came to Santa Monica at the tail end of the Great Depression and went to work for Douglas Aircraft, at the time one of the bayside city's biggest employers.
Once the war broke out at the end of 1941, she found herself making war planes while her husband, Ernie Daymude, went off to fight.
“It was a hard time,” said Holbrook. “It was really a hard time.” Raising her two children, Bob and his sister Beth, Daymude got by with part-time work at the aircraft plant.
“We didn't understand the pressure she was under,” Holbrook said.
Ernie came back shortly after the war in Europe ended and eventually, the family moved into a house on Pier Avenue and Fourth Street.
Daymude became a full-time housewife after Holbrook's two sisters, Sherry and Darlene, were born.
One of the biggest lessons his mom taught him, Holbrook said, was never to give up.
Daymude never had the chance to go to college, so when Holbrook decided to continue his education, she and the whole family rallied around him.
“I think for the first three years of college, they must've thought I was running a scam,” said Holbrook. His mom let him live at home while he attended classes at Santa Monica College and then, the University of Southern California.
She and Ernie kept working to help Holbrook pay for school and in 1965, with the support of his family, he graduated, the first in his family to do so.
Daymude followed her children's accomplishments with great pride.
“She was thrilled when I was elected to City Council,” Holbrook said about his 1990 victory, after which he went out to dinner with his mom.
Holbrook said that, for the last 10 years of her life, everywhere he went with her, Daymude would boast about her son.
“Do you know how important my son is?” Holbrook recalled his mother asking of people. “It was kind of embarrassing,” he said.
Daymude is survived by her sister, her children, Bob, Sherry and Beth and her grandchildren.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica.
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