Joan Evelyn Lanza

Born Sept. 26, 1925, in Kansas City, Mo., Joan Evelyn (See) Lanza was called home to be with her Savior Jesus Christ on Nov. 8, 2018, surrounded by family members.

Evelyn became a devout Catholic at the age of 8 through her beloved stepfather, John Sullivan. Evelyn’s faith was her foundation. As the family matriarch, Evelyn shared her Christian faith and incredible work ethic with her immediate and extended family and taught us by her example to love others unconditionally.

Evelyn came to Southern California with her mother in 1941, following her older brother who was stationed with the Navy in San Diego. She met Matt Lanza at a USO dance, and they married on Dec. 2, 1950, in Los Angeles, where she was working as a secretary for Universal Studios. They first lived in Whittier before moving to Fullerton, where they raised their seven children, eventually moving to Riverside in 1971.

She later moved to Lake Isabella to be near and care for her beloved mother where she supported herself and her three youngest, first as owner of Custom Janitorial Service and later as a real estate broker.

Evelyn was very active in community service, with a special passion toward church ministry and teaching literacy for troubled youth as a volunteer at Camp Owen. She traveled extensively with her church friends on many religious pilgrimages throughout Europe and the Holy Land and enjoyed many cruises with her family.

Lovingly referred to and cherished as our “Gran,” she had simple aspirations focusing on family and a genuine love of life. Whether she was marveling at a beach sunset, playing her piano or holding a hand of cards, her joy and laughter were uplifting and endearing. She was the anchor and jewel of her family.

Evelyn is predeceased by her mother, Lou Ellen Sherwood, and older brother, Richard See.

Left to cherish her memory and carry on her legacy of education, hard work and service to others are her children, Joan Williams, Joseph Lanza, Mary Cochrane, Michael Lanza, Timothy Lanza, Theresa Cymbal and David Lanza; 19 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren, who will miss her immensely but who are comforted in knowing she is in Heaven with Jesus, and they will all be reunited one day.

Viewing and remembrance of life will be held Friday, Nov. 23, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at Lake Isabella Valley Mortuary. A Catholic Rosary and Mass will be Saturday, Nov. 24, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Wofford Heights.

Interment will be at Kern Valley Cemetery.

— Submitted by the family of Joan Lanza

Story First Published: 2018-11-21