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BREAKING NEWS: Former Artesia Mayor Gretchen Whitney passes away at age 99

Remembering Gretchen Whitney. Photo by Los Cerritos Community Newspaper of Mrs. Whitney in 2010.

UPDATED: 11:00 p.m. Tuesday

By Brian Hews

Former Artesia Mayor Gretchen Whitney died on Tuesday morning at the Artesia Christian Home at the age of 99.

Her great grandson Robert Yeutter announced the passing of his grandmother in a phone conversation with Los Cerritos Community Newspaper.

“This is a very sad day,” Yeutter said. He also pointed out that Whitney was going to celebrate her 100th birthday in just two weeks. “She was looking forward to it,” he said.

Whitney had been both a former member of the Artesia City Council and the ABC Unified School District Board of Education.

Whitney High School in Cerritos is named in her honor.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe reflected on the life and accomplishments of Mrs. Whitney on Tuesday and told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper that “I am saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend Gretchen Whitney, former Mayor of Artesia.”

“Gretchen was a model public servant, absolutely committed to making Artesia the finest city it could be.  She served tirelessly in every capacity – as mayor, council member and school board member, giving selflessly of herself to her community,” Knabe said.

“Even after her formal public roles, she was always involved, donating her time and energy to helping those in need.  Gretchen was beloved by so many for being extremely kind, thoughtful and generous.  She was simply a very special person.  Gretchen was a dear friend to Julie and me and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time,” Knabe concluded.

Here is more on the life of Mrs. Whitney:

Gretchen Alice Whitney was born January 5th, 1913 near Pender Nebraska to Earl and Mildred (Cousin) August. She attended country schools near Laurel, Nebraska. Gretchen married Harold Raymond Whitney in 1931 at Yankton, S.D. The couple farmed in Coleridge for a few years and then moved to Artesia California.

She served on the ABC Board of Education for 22 years and Whitney High School is named in her honor. She was elected to the Artesia City Council and served two terms as mayor. Recently she was the first person to have received a fifty year pin as a member of the Artesia Cerritos Women’s Club.

Whitney High School (Cerritos, California)

Whitney High School (Cerritos, California) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She worked at Robinsons May Co from the time they opened their store in Cerritos for 20 years in the linen department. She was a member of the Artesia Christian Reform Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband Harold, grandsons James and John Yeutter, one brother and five sisters and her twin sister Gertrude. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

She is also survived by her daughter Joyce A Yeutter and great, great grandsons Robert (RJ) Yeutter and Cole Hernandez and grandsons Robert, Joshua and James Kirby and grand-daughter Terri Walters.

Services will be private at Forest Lawn. She will be buried next to her husband. No flowers please. Donations gratefully accepted for Whitney High School or Artesia Christian Home to P O Box 817, Artesia 90702.

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  • Jim Ruiz says:

    Rest in peace Gretchen, my prayers to the family and close friends.

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