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Edra L. Navarro Young

Loving wife, caring teacher, Spaniard at heart

Edra L. Navarro Young died November 19, 2013 after complications from a head injury she sustained in a fall two days earlier. She was 71. She was described as passionate yet reserved, a caring and deeply spiritual woman. She will be greatly missed by her former students, friends and family.

Ms. Young was born in Hollywood on November 5, 1941 and lived in the Los Angeles area for a majority of her life. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood in 1963. While a student there, she studied abroad in Spain. Her exposure to the city developed a lasting love for the country and the Spanish language. She lived in the famous Residencia Estudiantil in Madrid and was thrilled when she was mistaken for a provincial señorita.

An early marriage to Pepe Navarro, a native Spaniard, ended in divorce. “It was more about being married to the culture than to the man himself,” she would say wryly.

She went on to receive a master’s degree in Spanish from California State University, Northridge 10 years later. She completed a teaching credential in 1965 and an additional graduate degree in counseling and guidance from the University of La Verne in 1980. She was deeply committed to education, working in many capacities throughout the greater Los Angeles area since her early 20s.

She was a Spanish teacher at Taft High School in Woodland Hills from 1963 to 1982. There, she taught all levels of Spanish language from beginning through advanced placement. She was particularly proud of being a colleague of renowned math teacher Jamie Escalante at Garfield High School, where from 1982 to 1984, Ms. Young was an ESL counselor for Chicano-Latino students.

A chance meeting at a book club lecture in 1978 would prove to be the transformative event in her life. The lecturer that day was the Hispanist, Howard Young. Falling in love and marrying Mr. Young, as Ms. Young told her friends only a few months before her death, was the greatest thing that ever happened to her.

“Howard was el amor de mi vida,” Ms. Young said. Their wedding was an intimate affair at their Sierra Madre home in May 1981 followed by a brief honeymoon at the El Encanto hotel in Santa Barbara.

Mr. Young was a professor of Spanish literature for 44 years at Pomona College. In the last few years of her life, Ms. Young worked to further the legacy of her late husband who predeceased her in 2009 by endowing the Howard T. Young prizes in literary criticism and translation in the department of romance languages and literatures at Pomona College. Each year, she participated with Spanish faculty in the selection process, taking great pride and pleasure in reading each essay and meeting the prize recipients at the awards ceremony.

She lived her life with many, and occasionally surprising, interests. Spain of course remained her favorite place. She lived happily with her husband and son there during Mr. Young’s research sabbaticals from 1986 to 1987 and again in 1990. Ms. Young was also a devoted fan of baseball, a love that she shared with her husband and son. She also had a strong devotion to tap dancing, Zumba and aerobics, which kept her active.

Ms. Young is survived by her son Tim, of Claremont, stepdaughters Laurie Mehlhaff and Jennifer Enzminger and their families. A private ceremony was held for family.

 

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