Felipe Espinoza, Jr., Funeral Card Friday

Felipe Espinoza Jr.

[I never had the opportunity to know my grandfather, but I adored him much more than anyone would understand. Our few hours together  could not be matched even if I had spent a million hours with him. I discovered from this picture, that I have his “eyebrows”!  I always wondered who on earth had eyebrows like mine?]

A 55-year resident of San Pedro, passed away on October 8, 2010, at the age of 84. He was born in Wickenburg, Arizona on March 3, 1926. He was a World War II veteran, and attained 50 years membership in Local 721, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Felipe is survived by his wife of 63 years, Esther Espinoza, and leaves behind three children, 7 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. On October 15, 2010, visitation will be at 12:30 p.m. and services will follow at 1:00 p.m. at Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel. Burial will follow at Green Hills Memorial Park.

Published in Daily Breeze on October 14, 2010


Felipe Espinoza, Jr. was my grandfather, whom I met when I was twenty-one years old when I showed up with no invite, at his home in San Pedro, CA.  I remember him as a very kind person, and quite handsome.  He made me feel welcomed once I got past the front gate and into my grandparents home. He later told me they thought I was selling cookies, and that they thought I was my sister with short hair.

I feel my story of reunion with my birth family begins with my grandfather Felipe, as he was the first one I met, and he was the one who took me to see my “Mother.”  My (birth) mother was a missionary, and she was coming to dock later that evening.  I had no idea of this information, but I was at home two days before Christmas, and I heard God say “Go!”  So I packed up my three children at the time, and went.  There was no better time, as I recollect, my “Mother” was to be preparing for another trip and that she might not have been available to me except for the day I arrived.  If I had not shown up that day, I would have missed her.

An interesting story that was told to me be my “Mother,” of which I still need to confirm, is my grandfather’s father was Full Native American.  His tribe was annihilated physically and culturally.  My Great-Grandfather’s parents were murdered along with many others in the border of Arizona, so my Great Grandfather was adopted into the Espinoza family, who were of Mexican descent.  I may have some of this information incorrect, however it does make sense.

It has been very difficult for me not to be recognized as a “regular” member of the family, and documented as such in my Grandfather’s obituary.  If I had to rewrite my Grandfather’s obit, the number of grandchildren would have been “8” instead of “7”, there also would have been “15” great grandchildren instead of “11”, and there would have been “3” great great grandchildren instead of none.

[Funeral Card]  I attended his burial and my daughter attended the funeral.

Funeral Card
Funeral Card for Felipe Espinoza, Jr.
Grave site service

Doves being released at Felipe Espinoza’s Burial


I see that as I dig deeper into the life of my grandfather Felipe Espinoza, I will find that this truly is a story of Love, Adoption, Sacrifice & Acceptance.

Wedding Wednesday: The Greene’s and the Porter’s

 Mr. and Mrs. William and Yvonne Greene
William Bradford Greene and Yvonne LaFargue
William Bradford Greene was my Godfather, and served as California State Senator for 17 years.  He represented South Central Los Angeles and the cities of South Gate, Cudahy, Compton and Bell.  The couple was probably married in the early 60’s.
 My Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Walter and Betty Porter
Parents Wedding announcement
Parents Wedding Certificate

Married August 18, 1957

Walter J. Porter and Betty Mae Peters

Wordless Wednesday: Henry Hodge

Henry Hodge: Born November 21, 1929
Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri
Adopted: Left on doorstep as a baby, and raised by his grandparents.
Henry Hodge, abt 2yrs old
Henry Hodge at 8 years old

Photos found in Henry’s Garage.  Henry is 81 years old and still going strong!

Tombstone Tuesday (Wendell Culley and Zara Cully Brown)

My Daughter Tori and I placing flowers on Wendell Culley’s unmarked Grave

Summer of 2010, My daughter and I went to locate my Great Uncle Wendell Phillip Culley’s grave and headstone.  Wendell was born January 8, 1906-May 8, 1983. Wendell was a jazz musician from Worcester, MA and played trumpet for Sissle Noble, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and played on over 200 recordings for many other singers and musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn. Wendell was one of Zara Cully Brown’s from the “Jefferson’s” younger brothers.  Much to my surprise there was no headstone.  There will be some family efforts to get Wendell a marker on his Grave. Our loved one’s should never be forgotten.

Location of Grave:
Rose Hills Memorial Park
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Garden of Affection, Sec 9, Lot 3149 Grave 4

Zara Cully Brown, listed are her husband and two of her children.

Photo by Scott Michaels

Location of Gravesite:  Photos from Findagrave.com
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Freedom Mausoleum, Columbarium of Victory

Photo by A.J. Marik: Zara Cully Brown’s wall nitch

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Sympathy Saturday: In Loving Memory of Zara Frances (Cully) Brown

Zara Frances Cully
(Copyright Protected, Not to be used without permission)

I was asked recently if I had a younger picture of Zara Cully Brown.  So I have decided to post a few of her pictures.  I am pretty sure Zara’s Great Grandson has some pictures of her, and will make a request and post at a later date.

Zara F. Cully was my Grandmother’s, Agnes Cully Peters oldest sister.  Aunt Zara was born February 26, 1892 in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her parents were Nora Ann Gilliam and Ambrose E. Cully, who were born and raised in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina, and in 1890 relocated to Worcester, MA.  Zara’s mother gave birth to numerous children.  The number has been told through the years to be about 21 children, but as of date, I am only able to document twelve, as some of her children died in childbirth, through miscarriage or at a very young age.  Aunt Zara died February 28, 1978.

Aunt Zara and my Aunt Hannah both married a set of  Brown brothers.  Zara married James M. Brown, Sr (Daddy J) and with their union they had four children, and one died in childbirth.  Their children were: James M., Jr., Mary Gale (Polly), and Emerson, whom are all deceased.

Here are the other two Photo’s in my Collection:

Aunt Zara’s Press Photo
Copyright Protected, Not to be used without permission.
Aunt Zara with my Dad’s mother Helen (Bunn) Porter Thompson in my parent’s living room.
Copyright Protected, Not to used without permission.

I remember Aunt Zara very well, even though I was ten years old when she died.  I remember how my mom would get excited when she would call us on the phone. My mother would put me on the phone to talk to her, and Aunt Zara would always ask me how I was doing in school, and if I was enjoying my extra-curricular activities.  She would let me go after she told me she loved me.

I attended Aunt Zara’s funeral, (I was 10yrs old) and I was amazed by the many people that came to her funeral.  The cast from the “Jefferson’s” were in attendance, and I had the opportunity to meet them during the Repast.  My favorite cast member at that time was Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict).  He kept me and all my little cousins running around laughing.

I will always remember my Aunt Zara as a wonderful woman.  She was very kind to me and our family.  Let me tell you one thing that might be a little trivia…My Aunt Zara on the “Jefferson’s” loved Bloody-Mary’s….Well in real life she really did!  That was her drink of choice!  So, I know that Zara has her Bloody-Mary in heaven while my mother is drinking her Martini’s.