Helen Parsons Emanuels
Photo by Bill Hays, Inverness, California
Helen Parsons Emanuels passed away in Sonoma, California, on
Wednesday, August 20, 2003, after a long illness. Her four children,
daughter Joan Pickering of Sonoma, sons Fred of Pleasanton, Stephen
of Lemoore and Roger of Santa Cruz and her husband George, of Sonoma,
survive her. She had nine grandchildren and nineteen
great-grandchildren. At her death she was in her 95th year of life
and her 75th year of marriage.
Helen Parsons was a true pioneer of Ygnacio Valley, Contra Costa
County, California. She was born in Ygnacio Valley, on August 29,
1908, at the family farm. Today, Doctors Park is on a corner of what
was the family farm.
She used to relate that Ygnacio Valley Road was a one-lane dirt
road in her day, and that her parents took pity on their horse which
pulled the family buggy up the grade to Walnut Creek. Consequentlly
they did most of their shopping in Concord, though two miles further,
it was a level road all the way and was much easier on their
She rode her horse to Walnut Creek in 1921, on the day when Main
Street was first paved. She attended school at the two-room Oak Grove
School on the northeast corner of Ygnacio Valley Road and Oak Grove
Road. She graduated from Mount Diablo High School and San Mateo
Junior College, and briefly attended the University of California at
Berkeley before marrying her husband George in 1928. They would have
celebrated their 75th in early November, 2003.
Helen worked as a volunteer at the Mount Diablo Therapy Center in
Pleasant Hill one day each week for many years. She drove patients to
the Center and after treatment returned them to their homes. She also
volunteered and waited on tables at the Center's Tea Room on Maiden
Lane in Walnut Creek. She was also a Shady Lady volunteer docent for
the Walnut Creek Historical Society at Shadelands.
Her ancestors came to northern California in 1849 and 1856. She
live lived in Sonoma with husband George since 1996, the town where
her great grandparents had lived during the Civil War.