Anne AEtheline Pillsbury was born in Oakland California on July 22, 1934. A sister, Carol Sylvia, would follow three years later, on January 18, 1937. It would be 9 years before the birth of their brother, Charles Arthur. So the two girls experienced much of their childhood very differently than did their three siblings who grew up feeling they had three mothers.
Anne was always taller and slender. Carol was shorter, rounder, and stocky as a child, slimming down as she entered her teenaged years.
Because their father did not want to buy a house at the time the two girls, who were very close, were raised in a series of homes in area around UCLA which were leased from faculty going on sabbatical. In one of these homes, on Greenfield, they spend the years of World War II. Dr. Pillsbury was serving as a volunteer for a Blackout Warden for their neighborhood and the girls were surprised and amused when the only light in Los Angeles during one drill was gleeming from the bird house on their own roof.
After the war the family moved to a location near what is now LAX and in the autumn of 1948 they moved to a home they purchased on Colby Avenue, located on the No. 8 Bus line, with service to UCLA. The location was chosen because Dad well knew soon the girls would be attending college. Since Mary Alice did not drive the family had only one car, which Dr. Pillsbury serviced himself, sometimes breaking down and rebuilding it through the war years.
Cappy (Charles Arthur) was born in 1945 while they were on Greenfield. Mary Linda (Melinda) was born on Colby Avenue, as was Stevie (Stephen Martin).
Anne loved ballet, and preformed for her youngest sister, Melinda frequently. Melinda enjoyed watching her but felt no desire to emulate her. Anne gave up after the first attempt, about which more is written elsewhere.
Anne was the family 'Martha,' always helping, always ready to assist. Learning to sew very early, Anne made elaborate wardrobes for all of her dolls and then began sewing for the family.
Always thrifty. Anne found a vast quantity of bright, stripped material in red and white for 4 cents a yard at a fabric store going out of business and bought all of it. Items made out of the material continued to appear for years, each family member receiving at least one of these.
Carol spent far more time on her appearance, but hanging up her clothes was low on her priorities. Her untidy behavior resulted in their Mother clearing out her room and dumping everything in the trash, from where Carol huffily rescued them. No on at Venice High School, where the both attended, could believe they were related, through Pillsbury is not a very common name. Anne was academic. Carol was popular.
Anne graduated from UCLA with a degree in Math and went on to be a computer programmer for General Electric and marry Paul Francis Gripp, a choice no one in the family approved because to these intimate observers his behavior was, clearly, manipulative and gave little evidence he cared for her. Mary Linda (Melinda) attempted to stab him with a fork once when he made Anne cry with his unkind remarks.
Anne'sr mother, Mary Alice Reasoner Pillsbury, said the only good thing to come out of the marriage was the litter of kittens born on the day the marriage took place. Pong, a short-haired gray cat with whit boots and a white chest, was born in the litter, becoming a family member and icon for the next 25 years.
In 1958 the couple purchased a home off Fairview in Goleta in the first subdivision then displacing the orchards which had formerly filled the land. The home at 6184 Verdura Avenue was Anne's home for the rest of her life. It was there she gave birth to the two children she loved more than anything else in the world, Alice Elizabeth and Parry Pillsbury.
Anne worked at GE until the couple had accumulated enough in savings to be able to join with Paul's brother and his wife in an investment of land in Malibu. The land was subdivided, half of it sold to Pepperdine, and the other half used to develop upscale housing. The couple was also able to purchase the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, making payments for years to do so.
Both investments proved to be very lucrative. Anne, because of her very thrifty nature and because her work as a computer programmer was very lucrative, made available the money to make this work for the couple. They were able to entirely bank one income and live on the other. Anne cut corners in amazing ways.
Then, in the late 60s Anne discovered Paul, who she already knew was being unfaithful to her, and bringing home his girl friends and insisting she cook dinner for them, asked for a divorce. Anne, very good with numbers, realized Paul was attempting to move property into his control with the help of his birth family. Anne retained counsel and the divorce was dropped - but Anne never trusted him again, only holding off the divorce until both children were past the age when Paul could use them as pawns in a divorce. Anne confided the facts and her feelings about what had happened in her youngest sister, Mary Linda (Melinda) who was shocked and saddened but promised not to forget what she was told.
The divorce resulted in Anne getting the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate and the home where she had given birth to her two children. It had always remained the place closest to her heart.
Paul got the other nursery and the home attached to it on the beach in Goleta.
Anne suffered a heart attack in Tokyo in early 1994 and died after being declared brain dead at the hospital in Japan and medivaced home, accompanied by her children. She died at home on Verdura on April 16, 1994. She will always remain in the hearts of those who loved her as the most generous, kind, and giving person we had ever known.
Visit the family pages for Alice & Parry at: