She was born and raised in a small town in Bradford, Pennsylvania on January 22, 1925. Four children, 10 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren later, Dolores Hitchcock, otherwise known as “Val Jean”, has lived an abundant life, proudly calling Santa Clarita her home.
After graduating high school in Bradford, Val Jean met William Hitchcock, and in 1949, the two married. They purchased a small piece of property where they built their home and began their life together. Together they had three girls and one boy, Diane, Jill, Tracy and Kirk.
It wasn’t until 1961 when the Hitchock’s made their way west, moving to San Diego for employment opportunities. It didn’t take too long for the family to fall in love with the beautiful “winter” weather California had to offer…afterall it was Val Jean’s first time outside of Bradford. Just four months later, the family relocated to San Diego, eventually making their home in Valencia in 1968. “Her trip to California changed her life and she never looked back at her snowy days in Pennsylvania,” says Jill. Val Jean became an avid beach goer from then on, spending most of the summers near the water. “She would sun on the sand and call us for lunch, tuna sandwiches and Fritos.”
Throughout the years, Val Jean became a beloved member of the community, and being very active in her church. “My mom has served in her church for many years, being a charter member, she is beloved by this large church as a treasure.” Jill continues. “One of the special things about mom is the fact that she has knitted Christmas stockings for over 60 years for family and friends. Many people in this town have them hanging in their homes at Christmas, and they are special to all of us.”
In the 1990’s, William took ill and was hospitalized, but it was Val Jean’s love that nursed him back to health. “Val Jean came each morning to care for him, and the nurses loved it,” says Jill. In 1999, William passed away at the age of 80.
On Saturday, January 24, over 70 friends and family gathered at the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction to celebrate Val Jean’s 90th birthday. It was a complete surprise to Val Jean to see so many of her friends, family and fellow church members all gathered to honor her. Even those unable to attend sent in videos wishing her well.
Still actively involved in her church and hosting bible studies in her home on a weekly basis, Val Jean also spends her days gardening, doing most of her own yard work, including mowing, weeding, trimming and planting, all in the same home she and William first purchased in 1968. “She has always made her home a safe family haven for all of us,” says Jill. “She is truly a treasure.”