In Memory

James Vandervort - Class Of 1953

James Vandervort

James Vandervort (June 2, 1935 - November 28, 1953).  Funeral services for James Vandervort, 18, killed Saturday in an automobile crash will be conducted at 2 pm tomorrow in the Calvary Presbyterian Church, South Pasadena.   He was the son of Kenneth D. Vandervort, oil company executive, and Margaret Vandervort, 1380 Bellwood Avenue, San Marino.  Private burial will be in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1953


I knew Jim at PCC in 1953.  Our common interest was hotrods and SPSMHS.  Jim and his lovely girlfriend Marilyn were the personification of young love.  Posterboy for the up and coming young man barely begins to describe this young fellow.  His good buddy was Ritchie Whitaker (SPSMHS '51), close neighbor and fellow only child.  Both shared their newfound interest in hotrods; Ritchie had a gutted '37 Ford sedan with a hopped-up flathead V8, running on alcohol.  Needing a tuning run, they towed the hotrod up to Eaton Canyon where Sierra Madre Boulevard had several large dips.  Nowadays, the Rose Parade floats are displayed there.  Disconnecting the car, the towbar was merely leaned back against the radiator, a pushstart was done and the usual driver, Jim, jumped in and off he went.  The dips in the street had their effect and the towbar fell down and dug into the surface of the street, catapulting the little car end-over-end-over-end.

Jim lasted eight hours.  To this day I shudder at the thought of the anguish and loss suffered by the parents and young Marilyn.

Ross Diehl, '52