|Birth: ||Sep. 22, 1895|
|Death: ||Jun. 29, 1968|
Los Angeles County
Our grandmother, Elise "Elsie" Day De Lille, was born in Prairie City, Grant County, Oregon in 1895.
Her father, James Henry Day, was the son and grandson of pioneers of Minnesota, Oregon and Washington.
Her mother, Mary Edna Sorenson, emigrated to the United States at an early age from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Elsie's older sister, Evelyn Eleanor Williams was also born in Grant County and Ada "Adree" Marion Vining was born in California.
Eastern Oregon suffered a drought in the late 1890s, which may have brought about the family's move to California. They first settled near Watsonville, then moved on to Los Angeles.
When Elsie (or "Nonie", as we called her) was six years old, her father died in Whittier, at an early age from paralysis, leaving a wife and three daughters. Her mother re-married shortly after James Henry's death. It is unclear whether or not Nonie got along with her step-father, Isaac Spencer.
Her grandmother, Ellen McDaniel Day Deardorff Williamson, also lived with the family and my mother recalled that Nonie spoke of her often.
Nonie was extremely proud of her pioneer roots and often told the (unsubstantiated) story that she was a descendant of John Day, for whom much is named after in Eastern Oregon. She was old enough to have known her great-uncle, Nicholas Tarter Day, and I think some of the stories she repeated to my mother are about him.
Nonie met and married Jud Oviatt in 1912. She was 17 and he was 29. They lived in Kern County, California, where Jud owned a pharmacy. They had three children; Leila "Arlene", Jud Ballard, (the "Ballard" was for Nonie's favorite uncle, William Ballard Day), and Stanley Stephen.
Jud and Nonie divorced in 1921. It was not amicable.
Our mother always told us the story of how Nonie searched for spiritual guidance following her divorce. She was probably raised as a Methodist, but I am not certain. She visited various churches and met with many clergymen, and felt most at home in the Catholic Church. Following her baptism into the faith in 1924, she became exceptionally devout. Her faith still guides our family to this day.
Nonie was working as a clerk at the Owl Pharmacy in downtown Los Angeles where she met our grandfather, Enrique "Henry" De Lille, who was working as the store manager. Nonie and Henry soon fell in love, and they were married at St. Martha's Parish in Huntington Park on February 18, 1924.
They were the beloved parents of three daughters, Elise, Marjorie Antoinette, and our mother, Marie.
A few stories come to mind when recalling our grandmother. At one time during the Depression, Nonie and her family lived above a small drugstore. Nonie bought a modest radio set and had made arrangements with the shopkeeper to pay for it in installments. When the store later went out of business, Nonie felt very guilty, because she felt as though she had stolen the radio. Her conscience was only cleared after she went to Confession. On another occasion, also during the Depression, Nonie's purse was stolen when she went to receive Communion at Mass. When asked about it later, she simply shrugged and said that somebody must have needed it more than she did. During World War II, Nonie was known to pass out Novenas to the boys her daughters dated.
Nonie's favorite songs were Beethoven's "Fur Elise", (for obvious reasons), and "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life" by Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy. She was quite enthralled with the new medium of television, and watched just about everything that was available, but she especially liked the quiz shows of the day. Of course, she never missed Bishop Sheen's program, "Life Is Worth Living."
Nonie was probably not the easiest person to always understand or get along with, but it is clear she had a wonderful sense of humor, a deep love of family, and she was a fine example of what it means to live faithfully.
James Henry Day (1851 - 1902)
Mary Edna Sorenson Powers (1866 - 1936)
Enrique De Lille Aizpuru (1900 - 1969)*
Leila Arlene Oviatt Dispenza (1913 - 1993)*
Jud Ballard Oviatt (1918 - 1967)*
Stanley Stephen Oviatt (1919 - 1985)*
Elise Marie De Lille (1923 - 1923)*
Marjorie Antoinette De Lille Massaglia (1924 - 1977)*
Marie Constance De Lille Burke (1928 - 2010)*
Holy Cross Cemetery
Los Angeles County
Plot: Section T, tier 58, grave 94
Created by: James Burke
Record added: Sep 06, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5053101