John Seymour passed away on February 12, 2021, and on Saturday, March 6, 2021, the West Antelope Valley Historical Society presented a “Tribute to John”, at the Heritage Park Museum/Schoolhouse above the Leona Valley Community Building. John was a longtime member of the West Antelope Valley Historical Society (WAVHS), in additon to being a member of Leona Valley Sertoma.
His friends, neighbors, and family gathered together at the museum building, situated next to the old Leona Valley schoolhouse, that was used from 1915 into the 1930’s. It was the perfect setting for this gathering of people who came to remember him, as John was truly a driving force in saving the schoolhouse. He advocated to have it relocated to the grounds of the community building property and, with other long-time residents of the valley, helped create the Heritage Park and Museum/Schoolhouse.
John wanted to see the schoolhouse brought to its former glory and become a destination for anyone interested in the history of the area, but he especially wanted see it provide children with a glimpse of what school was like a hundred years ago. That pretty much tells you what kind of man John was.
The schoolhouse still needs a lot of help toward becoming what John and the others envisioned and you can learn more about the schoolhouse at the society’s webpage, West Antelope Valley Historical Society. You might want to visit their Facebook page: West Antelope Valley Historical Society, too. I know they would welcome your help in finishing the school.
I met John Seymour in the summer of 2001, when I joined Leona Valley Sertoma, and even all these years later, I learned things about John I did not know from those who spoke at the tribute. I knew John as a quiet man, but passionate about the things he believed in and he was passionate about the place he called home, Leona Valley. I also learned there was a lot more about John; Navy veteran, skilled computer engineer, and a lover of aircraft from his time on the USS Intrepid. Working for Lockheed he was involved with the L-1011 Tri-Star and the top secret SR-71. He had a truly amazing career and he brought this experience to bear as a member of Leona Valley Sertoma and every other organizations to which he lent his time and energy.
For those who do not know, SERTOMA is an acronym for “SERvice TO MAnkind” and John did not hesitate to roll up his sleeves and do his part. John was not alone though, as I was quick to learn, this group of Sertomans were all passionate about finding ways to better their communities and helping those who need help. I learned a lot from John, and the others, when it comes to getting things done in the name of community. Being actively involved in helping people was an amazing feeling, planning fundraising events, working the events, and seeing the funds going to make a difference in the communities served by Leona Valley Sertoma. Things like scholarships, the Senior Christmas Dinner, and the St. Patrick’s Day event, where people could gather with their friends and neighbors and bond over good food, music, and laughter.
I took on the task of creating a DVD for the Leona Valley Sertoma, titled “Getting Involved With Leona Valley Sertoma”, and interviewed John for it. In the interview he gives his “Why” for being involved with Leona Valley Sertoma. I hope you will share the video with your friends and neighbors and I invite you to learn more about Leona Valley Sertoma. I know they are looking for new members and being part of “Making A Difference” is a truly rewarding experience and have no doubt your talents would be welcome. If you know a member, why not reach out and find out their “Why” for being a part of Leona Valley Sertoma. Learn more at LeonaValleySertoma.org.
I am a past member and President of Leona Valley Sertoma and, as a member, I discovered that giving of myself was so much more rewarding than just making a donation. I remained a member until I moved to Santa Clarita, but I continued to be their webmaster. I will be stepping away from that position with my impending move out of state, so they will be needing a new webmaster before long. I highly encourage anyone who lives in the lakes and valleys communities to consider joining Leona Valley Sertoma. If you care about your community you will find your tribe with this incredible group of people. – Tom