Since began my series of “PROFILES IN SERVICE”series, I have had the privilege of speaking with some remarkable women in the valley, but none more open and complex at the same time than Lynn Throckmorton.
I first met Lynn when her husband and I were part of the newly-formed Hemet Library Foundation. She has quite a background which began in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles where she was born.
“I guess I was an original Valley Girl. It is interesting how you have vague memories of your early childhood. I was two or three years old in an orphanage and strongly recollect waiting for my mommy to come and get me. I didn’t know or understand why I was there and mommy never came to rescue me.. That was a time in life when I was the product of other human beings who were searching for who they were.
My father and mother were divorced and he had remarried. One day I was put on a train and sent to live with my father and his new wife in Oklahoma. No one ever bothered to explain why.”
She was suddenly put into a situation with a father she barely remembered, if at all, and a woman about whom she knew nothing. She says, “A situation with two adults trying to figure out how they’re going to get by on this earth and here is this child put into the brand new marriage. I spent the next thirteen years, of again, not knowing who I was, taking psychology classes to understand how I fit into all of that.” She will only say that her step-mother “did the best that she could with what she had to do with.”
Those of us who know here in our valley believe she turned out just fine.
She graduated high school in Oklahoma and at age 19 she moved back to the San Fernando Valley. “I was all odds and ends again, trying to find out what to do with the rest of my life, where I was going and who I would go with.
“I married young and subsequently gave birth to two children. My husband was a good father, but he was an alcoholic. When the kids started acting out because of the environment that was created for them I just simply ended it, deciding to end the marriage. I knew it was time and I’m the kind of person who, when I’m done, I’m done. He later got sober, married a wonderful woman and made his children proud of him.”
She found employment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. “Being a very serious administrator, I obtained a top security clearance. A young engineer with the company worked in the laser program as did I. One morning I came into work and in the lobby that gentleman was at a desk in the lobby talking to someone on the phone. I recognized him but didn’t immediately know why. He waved to me and I waved back, then I went on up to my office. I later remembered that I had seen him at a country dance class I had joined.”
The following morning he showed up in the lobby about 7:45 and Lynn was there. “To acknowledge him, I asked ‘How long have you and your wife been country western dancers?’ He kind of sputtered something and I excused myself, because I needed to get to work.”
Five minutes later her office phone rang. He said, “This is Bob Throckmorton and I was in the lobby. I’m not married. Will you go out with me Friday night?”
“I said yes, and we’ve been together ever since. We were married in Judge Ron Hyde’s chambers in Pleasanton, California.”
Bob and Lynn owned a Pacer Motor Home in Pleasanton. They’d become members of Cal Pacers and knew a good many Cal Pacer members. “We were returning from a visit in Yuma, Arizona and remembered we had met a couple from Hemet who were Pacers and had said if we were ever in Hemet to stop by and they’d take us to lunch. We were, we lunched at Home Town Buffet and the very next day we bought our home in Panorama Village where we still reside today.”
What propelled her into volunteer work?
“It probably has had a lot to do with my early days. There are other people who influence you but ultimately you get to define who you are. When we moved to Hemet we were retired and felt it was time to give forward to pay back. Bob immediately became involved with the new Hemet Library Foundation. We were both supporters of the new Library. You know, there are takers and givers on this earth. The takers always take and somehow or other there are those who always give.
“About that same time I was asked to become a member of the Panorama Village Board of Directors. Meanwhile we were still motor-homing about the country and everything seemed to fit in our lives, allowing us to travel. After I was off the board, I was sort of a thimbleweed. Thanks to the library we began to meet people who are the heart and soul of this community. I was invited to join the Assistance League, a wonderful organization. I was active with them for 17 years, which gave me the opportunity to meet more people who were heart and soul involved in this community.”
While she was serving with the Assistance League, the Diamond Valley Arts Council was being formed. “A friend encouraged me to be a part of that group to get the Arts Community formed, and so I launched, head first into an exciting activity.”
She recalls that during that time she sought opportunities where she could be creative in the community and is still a member of Diamond Valley Arts Council. “It was a point in my life where I had the opportunity to be creative of sit back and complain. I’m not a complainer, so you can see which way I went.”
During those days at DVAC she met a man who has been a great influence in her life.
“Andrew Kotyuk was young, his kids were young. He didn’t know me and I didn’t know him. I only knew he seemed like a young man who was headed in the right direction.”
Andrew is a two-time mayor of San Jacinto and is currently running for the 42nd Assembly seat this year, “The thing about giving of your talent and time in our community is that you meet people who are like you. There is a niche in politics or church or in so many was where you develop extended families with community at heart.”
Lynn and Andrew discussed photography, and the Hemet Art Association became another avenue that enticed Lynn.
“I really enjoyed creating and if I could contribute through photography, I wanted to do that because it was also something I can do for me and at the same time contribute to others.
“I began to enter pictures in competition. I’d never won an award at the Art Association. I’m still an amateur, but other artists inspired me. DVAC had the Festival of the Arts and I entered three off Acrylic photographs and someone actually bought one of my submissions. I was totally stunned. That inspired me even more to keep looking for what I could contribute in a photograph that would have the viewer understand what I was conveying. So that’s how I’ve decided to do that – FOR ME.”
After 17 years of volunteering for others, she decided she wanted to play and chose playing with pictures as her vehicle.
Adding it all up she says, “Life is a circle. You find what you are good at and what brings you joy and pleasure. I once read somewhere that if you’re going to do something with your life, be inspired. I think we often go back and pick up something we forgot as children. Now I have it all, my avocation, married to my best friend, have the best dog in the world. If I can’t have fun now I don’t want to do it.”
Lynn Throckmorton’s life has always been about purpose. She seems to have found her own cloud with the silver lining and is bouncing around on it with all the joy the heavens will allow. I like her. I think you will too. Just sayin’
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