Loomis, Patricia, 1920-2010
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)
|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,|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Santa Clara County (Calif.)|
|San Jose (Calif.)|
|REPORTER (print. & pub.; radio-tv broad.)|