By Tom Pinard
Shirley Jeanne Andersen Lynn Pinard passed away peacefully this past month, surrounded by her three fine children, Vicki Browne, Bob Lynn Jr., and Andrew Lynn.
To say that in her twenty-four years in Wrightwood, she didn’t leave her mark would be an understatement.
Shirley, her first husband Bob Lynn, and her family purchased a weekend cabin on Twin Lakes in 1961, commuting on weekends “all the way” from Rialto. Bob was a ski instructor at Holiday Hill on weekends, so it was a natural. They became part of the homogeneous weekend and local population of Wrightwood at the time, with it hard to know who was what; we were all Wrightwoodians…..
With a natural talent for art, honed with studies at the prestigious Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, where she was born the first child of Herman and Jeanette Andersen, Shirley became part of the Wrightwood “art colony” into the mid-1960s, along with Nancy Templeton, Dillie Thomas, Barbara Ahern, Lila Carter, and others.
Moving full time to the Village in the mid-1960’s Shirley and others kept the tradition of the Bastille Day Party, started in 1962 by Tom Pinard and Jess Barton, alive with bigger and better events. By 1968, Shirley had urged a friend from Wisconsin, a protégée of Frank Lloyd Wright, to come out and design a unique home for the family off Rivera Drive.
In early 1969, when the editor of the Mountaineer took a full-time job with the local phone company, Tom Pinard came back full time to Wrightwood to take personal charge of the local weekly newspaper that he had started in 1961. Absentee ownership had taken its toll, Pinard had been in the Los Angeles area working weekdays, subscriptions were down, advertising was down, interest was down.
Discussing the matter with Shirley, she suggested turning the Village on its ear with a special edition. Tom had started a tradition in the early 1960s of a summer edition filled with special stories, features, photos, and promotions, so the idea of a very special edition sounded good, especially after a couple of beers on the Yodeler deck.
The TV show “Laugh-In” had been all the rage, so Shirley suggested a theme for the Souvenir Edition of body painting and unique stories….. To do that, the couple focused on Shirley’s daughter Vicki, graduating with her peers at Apple Valley High, and an afternoon on Shirley’s deck, with local photographer Bill Hillinger snapping away, created a fun-filled and shocking to some Summer Souvenir Edition in 1969 that has never been duplicated.
The photo included in this story is Shirley’s body painting the words “Mountain Topping,” the name of Tom’s weekly column, below Vicki’s neck…hmmmmm!
The special edition came out, a few of the prudes in the Village were up in arms, some even canceling their subscriptions, but in total, the idea was a grand success, and interest in the Mountaineer soared.
Shirley and Tom became a team through time, and their Mountaineer resumed focusing on how to make the three communities, named the Tri-Community Area within a few years by the duo, a better and better place to call home. Shirley took over the business side of the Mountaineer, handling subscriptions and billing while Tom covered the news, wrote the editorials, and as the Phelan and Pinon Hills area was starting to grow, brought Helen Fowler on board to cover the news of the emerging two high desert communities. This would lead to the beginnings of the Phelan and Pinon Hills Progress.
After obtaining his degree and advanced certificates, Tom led the Chamber, the Lions, and the Wrightwood PTA. Through these three overlapping Presidencies, Tom, with Shirley’s urging, focused on the need to bring a high school to the “Tri-Community” Area. She had seen the toll the hour each way bus ride had- had on her two older children, didn’t want that for Andrew, then in Wrightwood School.
Wrightwood, by the way, was the driving force for the effort to bring a high school to the area as Phelan and Pinon Hills were quite a bit smaller than Wrightwood at the time.
The couple rallied older residents of Wrightwood, along with a cadre of young families who had moved to the Village in the early 1970s, enlisted caring parents in Phelan/Pinon Hills. A movement that could not be stopped began that would lead to a bond election in the mid-1970s and a local comprehensive, 7th thru 12th grade, high school by 1977.
When the school district announced a “name the high school” contest, with local residents suggesting names and the future student body picking from the top three, Shirley entered the name Serrano, explaining that the Indians of an earlier time living in both mountains and high desert were the Serranos.”
The art side of Shirley Pinard did not wain, as she and others founded the Tri-Community Art Association (TCAA) and then opened the partnership owned Four Seasons Art Gallery. In 1974, to bring new life to the Village Center, Shirley was a major contributor to the inspiration for the Swarthout & Cajon Valley Railroad Station. She supported the young wives of the new families to open businesses in the Village through these years and, along with her husband, started campaigns to help businesses like the “Trick or Treat in the Village Center” and the “Christmas Shop at Home” night the Friday after Thanksgiving.
With her urging, her husband developed many properties across Phelan and Pinon Hills, then developed the Swarthout Valley Ranch area of Wrightwood and surprised her by naming the principal street, Shirley J.
With an eye for the growth across the high desert area, with Zone L passing and water coming, along with the new high school, Shirley became the key office person in the growing Mountaineer-Progress office in Phelan. As the three communities with their separate “editions” were covering the same issues, a move was made to combine the Mountaineer with the Progress, leading to the Mountaineer-Progress to unify the communities even more.
In this same period of time, Shirley pursued her long-held dream of obtaining a degree in Art, with the idea of actually working in or running an art museum. Proficient in all media, from pencil/chalk sketching, watercolors, pastel, and oil, she branched out to potting, weaving, and various Indian carving in her art career.
She finished her first two years of college at Victor Valley College, then graduated Summa Cum Laude at Cal State University San Bernardino. She did graduate work at Long Beach State and, while there, taught Art History as a graduate student. In 1984, Long Beach State realized her talent and asked her to take over their Publications Department, and she held that position until her retirement.
Shirley is survived by her children, Vicki Browne and husband Ron, Robert Lynn and wife Kim, Andrew Lynn and wife Barbara, granddaughter Lexi Browne, grandson Trevor Lynn. Her parents and one brother, James Andersen, preceded her. She was a resident in Orange County since 1984.