Loomis, Patricia, 1920-2010

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Biographical/Historical note

Loomis was born in June 1920 in San Francisco, California, to Ivan and Christine Loomis. She grew up in Arroyo Grande, California, where her family had resided since 1882, descendants of prominent pioneers E. C. and Clara Loomis. After graduating from San Jose State University in 1943 with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, she went to work at the San Jose Mercury News, where she worked for 40 years. She started out writing church notices, articles based on letters from soldiers, reports on frost and weather for farmers and then moved up to cover the police department and City Hall.

Loomis is best known for her Mercury News column "Signposts" which ran from 1971-1981 and detailed through vignettes the lives of pioneers whose surnames are reflected on streets in the San Jose-South Bay area. A selection of these columns was published as "Signposts" (1982) and "Signposts II" (1985), then combined and reprinted as "Signposts Revisited" in 2009. Her interest in local history also provided the basis for several other publications, "Milpitas: the Century of 'Little Cornfields,' 1852-1952" (1986), "San Jose International Airport" (1991), "A Walk through the Past: San Jose's Oak Hill Memorial Park" (1998), and "The Wealth of California - Today's Agriculture, Yesterday's Gold" (1999).

As an active member of the San Jose Argonauts and the Oregon-California Trails Association, Loomis led or contributed to several group tours tracing pioneer trails through Nevada, Oregon and California and spent considerable personal time researching pioneer history in the U.S. West. She established the Pat Loomis Preservation Fund to help pay for preservation of the Oregon and California trails. Loomis was an original member of the San Jose Historical Museum, and her commitment to advocating for local history was recognized by History San Jose, who dedicated "Loomis Lane" in History Park in 2006. She received the Austen Warburton Award from the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County in March 2006. Also in 2006, the South County Historical Society opened the Patricia Loomis History Library and Resource Center in Arroyo Grande.

Loomis moved back to Arroyo Grande in 2007 where she authored two books on that area: "Arroyo Grande Cemetery" and "Streets of Arroyo Grande" and spent time pursuing her other passions for fishing, gardening and canning. In 2010 the South County Historical Society named her Historian of the Year.

Loomis passed away in Arroyo Grande in July 2010.

From the guide to the Patricia Loomis Collection, Bulk, 1939-1998, 1850-2008, (History San Jose Research Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Patricia Loomis Collection, Bulk, 1939-1998, 1850-2008 History San José Research Library.
referencedIn Leonard McKay Research Papers, 1793-1991, 1850-1991 Sourisseau Academy for State andLocal History,San Jose State University,
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Aikins, Bronte M. person
correspondedWith Anderson, Jack Z., (Jack Zuinglius), 1904-1981 person
associatedWith Anza, Juan Bautista de, 1735-1788 person
associatedWith Arbuckle, Clyde, 1903- person
associatedWith Argonauts Historical Society. (San Jose, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Barrett, Dick person
associatedWith Crocker, Mary Virginia Ives, b. 1863 person
associatedWith Douglas family family
associatedWith Douglass family family
associatedWith Gish, David Ellington person
associatedWith Gish, Mary Jane Glover person
correspondedWith Grant, Robert person
correspondedWith Greely, Bro. person
associatedWith History San Jose. (San Jose, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, Thomas Mason person
associatedWith McKay, Leonard Mortimore, 1921-2006 person
associatedWith Metropolitan Adult Education Program. (San Jose, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Nissen, James N., 1915-1994 person
associatedWith Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (Calif.). corporateBody
associatedWith O’Brien, Robert, 1911- person
associatedWith Oregon-California Trails Association. corporateBody
correspondedWith Renzel, Ernest H., Jr., 1907-2007 person
associatedWith San Francisco Chronicle. corporateBody
correspondedWith San Jose Broom Factory. (San Jose, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith San Jose Historical Museum Association. corporateBody
associatedWith San Jose Mercury-news. corporateBody
correspondedWith Schmidt, R. F. W. person
associatedWith Statehouse Replica Museum. (San Jose, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Vostrovsky, Jerome person
correspondedWith Wilcox, Irwin M. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Santa Clara County (Calif.)
San Jose (Calif.)
REPORTER (print. & pub.; radio-tv broad.)


Birth 1920

Death 2010

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