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 Geneva Caroline “Neva” <I>Gibson</I> Dorsa-Simpson

Geneva Caroline “Neva” Gibson Dorsa-Simpson

Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, USA
Death 30 Dec 1945 (aged 75)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot West Mausoleum, Section 436, Crypt C
Memorial ID 47548754 · View Source
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`*.¸.* ´* Special Loved One *´¯`•.¸¸. ♥


Geneva Caroline 'Neva' is the daughter of Hiram and Teresa Ann 'Wilcoxon' Gibson.

Neva married Frederick Lon Dorsa on February 12, 1895 in Nevada, Vernon Co, MO.

They had two children
1. Beatrice P b. MO Oct. 20, 1895,
d. May 12, 1972, Orange Co, CA
buried, Grand View Memorial Park,
Glendale, Los Angeles, CA
(FindaGrave memorial #47538246)
2. Fred Alonzo, 'Lonnie'
b. MO 1897 - 1993
burial unknown

She is found on the 1900 census in Nevada, Vernon Co. MO. as widowed with two children, Beatrice P, age 4 and Fred A. age 2.

The 1910 US Census, Los Angeles, CA. Neva is listed as divorced with two children. Her last name was spelled Dorsey but the ages of her and the children match. The children's names were Beatrice, age, 14 and Alonzo, age 12.

In the 10 years between the two censuses Neva was married and divorced. When her mother, Teresa Ann Gibson, died her obit stated that "She resided with her daughter, "Mrs. Keating," when she died in Gas, Allen Co., KS."

The date of her marriage to a Mr Keating or any info about him has not been found.

But in that 10 year span of time she did make her way from Nevada, MO. to Los Angeles, CA. Without information on her second marriage there is no way to know if she made the journey alone with her two children a move at a time or in one long trip across the country.

Neva married John Henry Simpson Nov 29, 1911, Los Angeles, CA. Her last name on this marriage license is also spelled Dorsey.

It is safe to say that Neva was a woman with a mind of her own and a backbone of steel.

Any other information about her is contained in the following article about husband's death and the tomb she worked to pay for.


"Lon was only twenty six years old when he was struck and killed by a bolt of lightening.
His wife was desolate at the loss of her young husband.
Advertisements placed by Mrs. Dorsa appear in old city directories, offering her services as a seamstress. It may have been by this means that she paid for the most unusual of monuments for her husband's grave.
She placed an order with the Brophy Monument Company of Carthage, Missouri for the largest block of limestone ever shipped to Nevada.
The block occupied a whole railroad flatcar and when it arrived at the station instead of being delivered, it was left sitting in the railroad yards, or 'spotted' on a siding.
A local stonecutter, Tom Berrigan, worked on the huge slab of limestone for thirty-two successive days. He worked away at the block right there on the flatcar with mallet and pointing chisel, hollowing it out until enough weight was removed for the huge stone to be moved from the railyard.
When the vault was finished it looked like a huge stone bathtub with a heavy, vaulted lid. It was, in principal, like some of the ancient tombs of the pharaohs of Egypt.
Mrs. Dorsa wasn't yet satisfied. She had a large hole cut into the lid of the vault and a huge stone Bible placed over the opening. The coffin inside was covered with a glass top. The Bible was equipped with a lock and when unlocked would pivot to the side so that Mrs. Dorsa was able to commune with 'my dear husband' as the inscription reads.
When eventually the remains of her husband started to surrender to time, her family had the monument firm remove the pivot and lock and cement the Bible in place, preventing the 'viewing' of the remains of Lon by his grieving widow.
On October 11, 1983 vandals struck. Prying off the stone Bible, they broke the glass underneath and took the skull of Lon Dorsa.
For a time Lon's remains lay open to view, his bony arms crossed over his chest.
Police soon recovered his skull and returning it to the cemetery officials, it was buried somewhere on the lot.
The Bible, damaged beyond repair was replaced with a plain stone slab, cemented down.
A porcelain likeness made from a photograph of Dorsa once filled an oval socket on her husband's vault front, but it too was broken and the pieces lost over time.
The vault of Mr. Dorsa is still there underneath the large pine tree."


Her tribute to the love of her husband stands to this day, the large granite sarcophagus she had made especially for him.


Neva appears on the 1900 US Census in Nevada, Vernon Co. MO. as Neva 'Dorsey', widowed, with two children, Beatrice P. age 4 and Fred A. age 2. Her birth year is listed as 1876.

She's also found on the 1910 US Census, Los Angeles, CA as Neva Dorsa, divorced, two children, Beatrice, age 14 and Alonzo, age 12, both children being listed as born in Missouri.

Neva married John Henry Simpson Nov. 29, 1911 in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in 1866 and her birth year is listed as 1871. On the marriage license her father's name is Hiram Gibson and her mother's is F. A. Wilcoxon. On the marriage license it has a box for number of marriages, it says this is marriage # 3 for Neva. Sometime between the 1900 census saying she was widowed and the 1910 census she evidently was married and divorced but no record has been found as of today. Mar 9, 2013

There is a death certificate for her in Los Angeles, CA. Date of birth listed as July 10, 1870, date of death as Dec. 30, 1945.

links to marriage, death and her full name and the full names of her parents were sent to me by a distant cousin of Lon's, Taj Magruder,

Marla found a death certificate for her son Lonnie Dorsa who died in California, but as yet that's all that we've been able to locate on him. There was no image available, just the information.


The following was entered to Neva's bio before it was transferred to me, I've left it intact.

(...1945 Los Angeles City death certificate #20543 available at FamilySearch:

Father: Hiram H. Gibson - Kentucky
Mother: Theresa Wilcoxson - Pennsylvania
Spouse/Informant: John H. Simpson
In Community: 2 1/2 years
In California: 40 years


Los Angeles Times, January 1, 1946:

SIMPSON, Neva, beloved wife of John H. Simpson, mother of Beatrice D. LaGasa and Lonnie Dorsa, grandmother of Beatrice Haskin and George A. Setser. S
ervices Wed., 2 p.m., at Edwards Brothers' Colonial Mortuary....)


A huge thank you to Marla Hansen for getting me started on the story of Lon and Neva Dorsa once again.
I'd entered Lon's memorial page on Find a Grave on Nov 1, 2009 and at the time could find no info on him. After a short email from Marla on Mar 6, 2013 asking if I'm related to Lon and asking if I knew what happened to his wife, the search began anew. Over the following days her and I both did a lot of looking and digging in records on-line and calling anyone we could think of that might have info on either of the two, Lon or Neva. The messages literally flew back and forth between us. She contributed so much to the success we've had in finding all that we have to this point and she still has information on the way to her from the museum in Nevada, MO.
Marla, so glad we got to 'meet'. You are awesome! Thank you!


Family Members





  • Maintained by: Beverly Joe Vaughn ☮
  • Originally Created by: GVMP Vols
  • Added: 3 Feb 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 47548754
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Geneva Caroline “Neva” Gibson Dorsa-Simpson (10 Jul 1870–30 Dec 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 47548754, citing Grand View Memorial Park and Crematory, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Beverly Joe Vaughn ☮ (contributor 46915126) .