Daily News of Los Angeles (CA) – June 6, 1991
DAVIS, 82, LONGTIME SOUTHLAND EDUCATOR
Esther Ritter Davis, a longtime educator and founder of the journalism program at Los Angeles Valley College, will be remembered at a memorial service Friday on the University of La Verne campus.
Davis died in a Los Angeles nursing home Saturday at age 82.
Davis, who retired from the La Verne faculty in 1988, died after a brief battle with cancer, said Bob Gomperz, a former student and family friend.
A native of Kansas, Davis began her teaching career at age 17 in a rural elementary school there, Gomperz said. She came to California in 1938 to teach English, Latin and drama at San Dieguito High School in Encinitas, and joined the faculty at San Fernando High School in San Fernando two years later.
In 1949, when Los Angeles Valley College opened in Van Nuys, Davis was hired as the school’s first journalism professor. During the next 20 years, the campus newspaper, the Valley Star, was a multiple recipient of the Associated Collegiate Press’ Pacemaker Award as one of the outstanding student newspapers in the United States.
When Valley and other community colleges separated from the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1969, Davis was named director of communications for the new Los Angeles Community College District. She later served as assistant superintendent in charge of instruction.
Davis retired from the district in 1972, but came out of retirement a short time later to direct the journalism program at Pasadena City College. In 1976, she became chairwoman of the communications department at the University of La Verne.
Memorial services are set for 2 p.m. Friday in La Fetra Hall on the La Verne campus. Donations may be made to scholarship funds established in Davis’ name at Valley College, Pasadena City College and the University of La Verne.
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