Emily Bellue Gow Sutton, a long-time resident of Banning and Beaumont who was born before either community incorporated, died Sunday at age 101.
She passed away March 4 at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, two months shy of her 102nd birthday, said her daughter, Vickie Larkin of Beaumont.
Emily was born May 8, 1910, in Beaumont to Martha and Charles Bellue, and she was the sixth of 10 children, Larkin said.
"She lived way back up the Water Canyon at a place called Camp Comfort when she was a little girl," Larkin said Tuesday in a phone interview.
"She talked about how her mom in the morning would load them all up in the wagon and my grandma would warm up rocks and put them by their feet so they'd be warm," Larkin said.
"She'd send them down the canyon with the horses and the wagon, and they'd stop near the mouth of the canyon and pick up some of the Bigley kids," Larkin said. "Then they'd go on down San Gorgonio to Williams, and the school was right there at 2nd and Williams, where the school district offices are now.
"They didn't have parking spots there," Larkin said. "They had stables for the kids to tie their horses.
Emily moved from the Pass area during the Depression when she took a job in Los Angeles as a food server, supporting herself and sending money home to her parents, her family said.
It was in Los Angeles that she met her husband, Irving Gow. They lived a short time in Ohio before moving back to Banning where they raised two daughters.
Emily and Irv owned and operated Banning Auto Service, Gow’s Texaco Station in Banning, and AAA Towing which serviced the area between Whitewater and County Line Road.
Irv died in 1960 and after his death, Emily alone operated Gow’s Texaco Station and AAA Towing, while raising a 10-year-old daughter.
In 1965, Emily married Ralph Sutton, who worked with her at the station. Emily continued working until she was 79 years old.
In her "retirement," Emily enjoyed spending time with her family, baking for the local police, postal and fire workers, and knitting hundreds of hats for children born at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital.
May 8th, 2010, was declared Emily Gow Sutton Day in the city of Banning on Emily's 100th Birthday, in recognition of Emily's service to the city. She was honored with a Distinguished Service Award by the Banning Methodist Women for her knitting work with the hospital.
She lived the past two years in Beaumont, Larkin said.
Emily will forever be remembered by her family and friends as strong, loyal, hardworking, thoughtful, genuine and loving.
Emily is preceded in death by Irv Gow, Ralph Sutton, her parents, and nine brothers and sisters. She is survived by her two daughters, Norma Shedden, of Montana and Vickie Larkin of Beaumont; two sons-in law, Bill Shedden and Tom Larkin; five grandchildren: Debra Davis of Montana, Jim Herra of Banning, Linda Herra of Banning, Eric Munsey of Beaumont and Leah Larkin Dixon; five great-grandchildren: Trava Herra, Jayson Addington, Sara Vik, Ashley Davis, Heather Davis, Marcos Munsey, Kayla Herra, Emmy Dixon, Callan Dixon and Thomas Dixon. Emily had one great-great grandson, Zachary Vik.
A viewing is scheduled 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday March 7 at Wiefel & Sons, 50 E. Nicolet St. in Banning. Services will be held 1 p.m. Thursday March 8 at the same location. Emily will be laid to rest at San Gorgonio Memorial Park.