Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Glen

In the closing months of World War II, a grieving father resolved to create a place of peaceful repose dedicated to the memory of his son who had died defending freedom in Europe. This father's labor of love lives on today at Covina's "Parque Xalapa."

 

Charles Jobe and his wife Betty were citrus growers in the hills east of Covina. They were the proud parents of two sons: Harold Glen (left, b.1922) and Claude (b.1929), and it was Harold who lost his life at Saint-Lô, France, during the last days of the Battle of Normandy ("Operation Overlord") in August, 1944.

 

A small, wooded creek ran through the Jobes's land on Holt Avenue, and it was in this mixed stand of live oaks and orange trees that Charles Jobe created "Memorial Glen." Near the center of the grove, in the shade of a magnificent 400-year-old live oak, Mr. Jobe set up a stone monument with a bronze plaque dedicating the park to his fallen son and to the other servicemen from Covina who had sacrificed their lives in World War II.

 

Over the next two decades, the Jobes hosted multitudes of visitors to Memorial Glen. Sadly, after Charles Jobe died in 1967, and his widow had to relocate elsewhere, the park became the haunt of youths who used the secluded spot for, well, let's just say less-than-reverential purposes. During this period of neglect, almost all of Mr. Jobe's labors were trashed by disrespectful vandals.

To make matters worse, when Interstate 10 was widened in the early 1970s, the adjacent service road was realigned to the east, and all of the trees in the western third of the former Jobe property were taken out. The removal of this protective canopy exposed the trunk and limbs of the ancient live oak to the sun's direct rays, and this resulted in the slow death of the veteran giant. Arborists tried their best to save it, but finally, in the early 1980s, what remained of the great tree had to be removed.

By this time, the City of Covina had acquired the land, and its Parks & Recreation Department created Parque Xalapa, named after Covina's sister-city in Mexico. In 1998, part of the park was turned into a formal Veterans Memorial. This interpretive monument was erected on the site...

  ...and a new commemorative plaque was installed to replace the long-vanished original.

IN MEMORY
OF
CORPORAL HAROLD G. JOBE
KILLED IN ACTION AUGUST 4, 1944
NEAR ST. LO FRANCE
"HAROLD GAVE HIS LIFE RATHER THAN RISK THE LIVES
OF HIS MEN. HIS BRAVERY MAY NEVER BE BROADCAST
TO THE WORLD, BUT HE WILL LIVE FOREVER IN THE
HEARTS OF THOSE WHO KNEW HIM."

 

More recently, the family of nephew Jere A. Jobe donated these new bronze plaques to the park.

 

As someone who grew up only a mile from Memorial Glen during the 1960s, and who personally witnessed its decline in the following decade, I am truly grateful to the City of Covina for restoring and preserving this unique historical site for future generations.


Color photos © J Scott Shannon. Special acknowledgment and thanks to fellow local historian J. David Rogers for the black-and-white photographs, the biographical details of the Jobe Family, and the history of Memorial Glen.

 

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. I can't believe that we were never taken here for field trips during elementary school or beyond. I wish I'd seen it while I lived there. So sad to hear of the vandalism, and so wonderful to hear of the glen's rebirth.

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  2. I should be more grateful to the City of Covina for their preservation efforts. The Jobes owned property on both sides of Holt Ave. My folks purchased the portion of the property across the street from the memorial glen, built a house which we occupied since around late 1946. Having grown up there, I was quite familiar with the glen and am saddened by how much of it was lost. It's nice that some of Mr. Jobe's original stone work remains, but the magic is gone, no apparent restoration attempts were made. Although the name of the park seems to have little connection with the memorial glen, at least the Jobe name is acknowledged, as well as others lost in combat, which I appreciate. Thanks for this wonderful tribute.

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