Donna recalled her first and second grade teacher, Mrs. Owens, at the Fallbrook Union Elementary School (now Mae Ellis Elementary). Mrs. Owens was known to be a tough teacher and Donna got her hand whacked with a ruler on the first day of school for not following directions while coloring.
“We learned to pay attention and everyone loved Mrs. Owens,” Donna recalled. When Donna was 12, she and her sister Bonnie and other friends went “moonlight” horseback riding through the Live Oak Park area. “You probably wouldn’t do that today,” she said. “Growing up in Fallbrook was special then, always safe and fun.”
Donna met Neil Boren in the summer before her Freshman year at Fallbrook High School. Neil’s family had settled in Rainbow in the 1920’s and Donna remembers her friends thinking of Rainbow as, “the sticks.” Neil had attended the one-room schoolhouse in Rainbow through 8th grade. They dated all through High School. When she was 16, Principal Jobe let her leave school 2 weeks before the start of vacation so that she could work a summer job at a Yacht Club on Harsen Island, Michigan. He told her parents it would be a wonderful experience for her and he was right.
After graduation, Donna went to work at Camp Pndleton briefly, and then worked for State Farm Insurance in Fallbrook. The train was still running through town then and sometimes the train engineer would pull into the station, blocking Alvorado street. He would then go in the back door of the State Farm Insurance office to chat with Donna, until a car would sound its horn and the engineer would have to move the train. “The insurance office wasn’t very busy and there wasn’t much traffic on Alvarado then, so no one seemed to mind very much,” she recalled.
When Donna and Neil were married in 1953 they moved to Burbank in Los Angles County, where Neil worked in aeronautical engineering. They had four children, Greg, Brian, Bonnie and Sheldon. In 1962, Neil decided he wanted to be a dentist. It took 8 years but after graduation from USC, the family moved back home to Fallbrook where Dr. Boren opened his dental practice. Donna served on the Satellite Welfare Board and the Beautification Board. She was also on the Board of Directors for the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Club as the North County Representative. Donna also served on the Board of Directors for the Fallbrook Angel Society for 35 years.
In 1978, Donna and Neil hosted a fundraiser at their home, with the help of Bud Roberds the Band Director, to gather donations for instruments tor the High School band. That event was so successful that they arranged similar subsequent fundraising events at larger facilities. The following year they presented Director of Bands Mark Davis generous contributions totaling $12,500 to be used for band uniforms. To thank them, their names were added to a perpetual plaque in the band room.
Dr. Boren Passed away in 1991, but Donna and two of her sons, Greg and Brian, still live in Fallbrook. “I couldn’t imagine growing up any place else,” said Donna.
Opal, Jack Lee,
Jessie and Bonnie
Pioneer of the Year