Services will be held at 4 p.m. May 18, at First United Methodist Church, Upland.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Carolyn Hargrave Memorial Fund, Etiwanda School District, P.O. Box 248, Etiwanda, CA 91739.
Stone Funeral Home, Upland, is in charge of arrangements.
District honors devoted teacher
Inland Valley Times
Friday, May 11, 2001
Carolyn Leila Hargrave’s family accepts her 30-year service commendation in an emotional ceremony a week after her death.
Rancho Cucamonga- Etiwanda School District Supt. John Golden stood facing a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 district staff members and teachers, with members of the school board standing behind him. Teachers and staff were called to the board room Thursday to be honored for reaching career milestones.
But as he composed himself, he knew this year’s event, usually an upbeat affair, would be different from previous ones. Teacher Carolyn Leila Hargrave of Alta Loma, set to received a commendation for 30 years of service, died May 1 at San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland after a battle with cancer. She was 55.
In her place sat family members.
It’s a wonderful occasion, one that comes with mixed emotions,” Golden said.
Hargrave, a well-loved teacher with a flair for art, influenced students and colleagues, people recalled Thursday.
Caryn Elementary School teachers on Thursday wore red, white, and blue - Hargrave’s favorite colors - accenting their outfits with plain yellow ribbons in honor of her.
Golden praised Hargrave as a teacher “who knew day in and day out what her job was - that the focus is the room with the number on it.” When Golden learned that he’s be teaching fifth grade at the same school as Hargrave, also a fifth-grade teacher, he said he felt the burden of living up to her standards.
Golden was not known for great bulletin boards, but Hargrave was a master at creating a pleasing, vibrant classroom environment.
“I knew I was going to have to work harder than I ever had a teaching,” Golden said.
Hargrave was born in Los Angeles on Feb. 18, 1946, to Louise and George M. Gibson. Hargrave is survived by her husband, Richard; two sons, Morgan of Hermosa Beach and Matthew of Alta Loma; her mother, Louise; two sisters, Kathryn Vickers of Claremont and Janice Bivens of Upland; a brother, George M. Jr. of Upland.
The Gibsons moved to Upland 54 years ago when the city was set amid endless citrus groves with a small bustling downtown business area. The family fell in love with the city, Hargrave’s mother said.
In changing residences, the family never was far from a grove, which Hargrave used as a childhood playground, willing the friendships of men who worked in one.
Hargrave’s father served as Upland’s mayor 1968-72 and 1976-80. An agent with the FBI, George Gibson was offered jobs in other cities only to be discouraged by his children.
“The kids said, ‘When you and Daddy move, it will be OK. We’ll stay in Upland,’” said Louise Gibson, who still lives in a house the family built just above the downtown area.
Hargrave’s love of school blossomed early, Louise Gibson said, with Carolyn wanting to join her older sister, Kathryn, when Kathryn started kindergarten. Twenty-two months separated the sisters.
“When I got dropped off, she couldn’t understand why she had to go home.” Kathryn recalled, laughing.
After finishing college at San Diego State University, Hargrave taught one year in the Cucamonga School District before finding her home in the Etiwanda School District.
Friends and colleagues remember her for her loyalty, artistic ability and talent for motivating students and adults.
“She was the epitome of class,” said Rosalee Harris, and Etiwanda Intermediate School sixth-grade teacher.
Harris credits Hargrave for her entering the teaching profession. When the two met 23 years ago, Harris, then a young mother, entered Hargrave’s classroom looking for a simple diversion and the pay of a few hours of work.
As a teacher’s aide, Harris enjoyed working with children and came to admire Hargrave’s skill with students. A friendship blossomed. Harris, however, was content to remain an aide, but Hargrave had bigger plans for her.
“My culture was you get married and have children,” Harris said.
With Hargrave’s support and encouragement, Harris who is Latino and whose education was limited to high school, entered college at Cal State San Bernardino, where she earned a teaching credential and master’s degree.
Balancing the demands of family and school taxed Harris, and she sought assistance from Hargrave when in college.
“I knew I could call her whenever I needed to. I knew I always could count on her,” Harris said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I feel like she should have been honored many, many times.”
At Thursday’s ceremony, Hargrave’s son Morgan accepted a gift in his mother’s place. He thanked people for the kind remembrances.
“She never got mad,” a former student said.
“She made us laugh. She laughed at our jokes,” another said.
“She made my son feel like a good boy,” a mother said.
Morgan Hargrave told teachers that he and his brother thought of his mother as the “Batman” of the teaching profession.
At home, she was just a kind and gentle mom, but when she was on the job she was a superhero. Whenever he met his mother’s students, they would say; “Wow. You’re Mrs. Hargrave’s son!”
A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. May 18 at First United Methodist Church, Upland.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to: Etiwanda School District/Carolyn Hargrave Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 248, Etiwanda 91739.