Feb 152016

Yuncker BuildingIn another post I described the accomplishments of my great-granduncle, John E. Yuncker, who owned J. E. Yuncker Music Company in Los Angeles.  His wife Bessie (Zander) Yuncker was an accomplished pianist and music teacher.  She died in December 1962, a mere month after her husband died.

A couple years later, Bessie is mentioned in connection with a new American Red Cross Service Center.  In her will, she donated over $200,000 to the Red Cross for the express purpose of buying land, constructing and furnishing the new center.1  That was over two-thirds of the project’s cost.  Today that would be about $1.5 million dollars.

The official groundbreaking of the new American Red Cross Service Center to be constructed on the southeast corner of First Street and Western Avenue in San Pedro was attended by Red Cross volunteers and community and civic leaders from Torrance, Lomita, Wilmington, Palos Verdes, San Pedro, and Gardena….

More than two-thirds of the funds to finance the purchase of the lot, for construction of the new building and furnishings were provided by Bessie Yuncker, who left a substantial bequest in her will. …

On October 31, 1965 the 10,000 square foot split-level L-shaped building was dedicated to the memory of Bessie Yuncker.2

…The $300,000 building will be dedicated to the memory of the late Mrs. John E. Yuncker, whose bequest paid more than two-thirds of the cost.

Mrs. Yuncker died on Dec. 2, 1962, just one month after her husband passed away.  For many years the couple owned and operated the J. E. Yuncker Music Co., on West Seventh Street, Los Angeles.  Mrs. Yuncker was an accomplished pianist….

Today, it appears the building still stands, although it is now an urgent care medical facility.  It is located at 1499 West 1st Street in San Pedro, California.  The old Red Cross Center was at 390 West Seventh Street, which was about seven blocks from the Yuncker’s business at 1630 West Seventh Street.3  Therefore the Yunckers may have been involved with the Red Cross in other ways, and for many years.

Portion of a receipt from the J. E. Yuncker Music Company

This is another testament to the hard-work and community spirit of John and Bessie Yuncker.  They are buried together at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.4

  1. “Red Cross Will Have New Center,” article, Torrance (California) Press-Herald, 27 December 1964; online archives (http://www.torranceca.gov/libraryarchive/ : downloaded 13 February 2016).
  2. “Red Cross Will Dedicate Center,” article, Torrance (California) Press-Herald, 27 October 1965; online archives (http://www.torranceca.gov/libraryarchive/ : downloaded 13 February 2016).
  3. ThingsinBooks https://www.flickr.com/photos/60799790@N05/with/9652001582/
  4. Jim Tipton, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/ : downloaded 3 March 2015), John Yuncker 1881-1962, Bessie Yuncker 1888-1962, Memorials 6494703 and 6494704.

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