We have among us a large number of families that have been in the Elk Grove area for many years, and we are fortunate that they continue to call Elk Grove their home. Jay DeWald is one who continues to support activities and businesses in the Elk Grove communiy. He is an accomplished musician, and his son Jadyn. This is their story!

Jay was inducted into the Elk Grove Hall of Fame last January for his many contributions to Elk Grove. His work with is best known for the Strauss Festival of Elk Grove and Elk Grove Western Festival, and he brought music and western-enactment shows to many groups and activities.

Jay’s family members who attended the Hall of Fame event were his wife Terri, daughter Cat Davis, his brothers Dan and Dale, and his cousins Jim Entrican and his wife Anna Clare, and John Van Doren. His mother, who is 94 years-old was not able to attend, and neither were his children, Miko, Jaydn, and Joma and their families.

Jay sent me additional comments following the event:

“I want to recognize some of my family members - my mother and father mostly.  My mom was born in Rio Linda in 1921 and moved to Elk Grove shortly after.  She moved to the house at the west end of Grove Street – classic, two-story bungalow right next to the railroad tracks. Her parents were Hattie (Haynes) and Bud Van Doren. They also lived with my great-grandparents who were the owners of Haynes Mercantile and later operated by Bud and Hattie, later to become Entrican’s Grocery, operated by my uncle George and Ruth (Van Doren) Entrican. The building is now the School of Rock in Old Town Elk Grove.

“My father was born in Elk Grove after his parents came to Elk Grove from Russia.  He was born in an old house near what was the Williamson Ranch in 1920.  He lived to be 90.  Growing up, he and his brothers worked on the ranch picking fruit, and I believe his father worked as a farmer.

“There are several parks dedicated to family members in the Elk Grove area - Van Doren Park was dedicated to both my uncles Bob Van Doren (John, Jodean and Rod’s dad) and Bud Van Doren. There is also the Raymond Russell Park. He was my uncle and married to my aunt Margerie (Haynes) Russell.”

Jay is a distinguished graduate of these schools: Elk Grove Elementary, kindergarten to grade 8 and Elk Grove High School where he graduated in 1965. He attended Sacramento City College, Berklee College of Music - Boston, MA (Bachelor of Music in Performance), and the University of the Pacific - Master of Arts in Teaching.

More reently, Jay was well-known as a teacher at Elk Grove High School for 26 years (1979 – 2004), and Pleasant Grove High School and its sister campus, Katherine Albiani Middle School, (2004-2009).

He also taught Chinese Martial Arts (Shao Lin Kung Fu - Style of the Golden Serpent) at Harvard and Boston universities, 1971-1978.

Our accomplished musician has two albums from the early 1970s on Warner Brothers Records with the band Swallow, and his music is featured on Jazz Artistry’s 2019 album.

Jay’s son Jaydyn follows in his father’s footsteps of creativity. Jay tells us this about Jaydyn:

“He is the author of the essay collection, “Sheets of Sound” (Broken Sleep Books, forthcoming 2020); a cross-genre book, “The Rosebud Variations” (Broken Sleep Books, forthcoming 2021); and several limited-edition chapbooks, most recently “A Love Supreme: Fragments & Ephemera,” the winner of the 2019 Quarterly West Chapbook Contest. He is an assistant professor of English and the director of creative writing at Piedmont College.

Recent works of Jaydn include more than 100 in various publications both nationally and internationally.  He is also an accomplished jazz bassist and recently received his doctorate from the University of Georgia in Creative Writing/English. He is married to Kali (Daniels) DeWald and they have three children (Aurelia, Ollie and Ava).  They live in Athens, Georgia.

We are fortunate to have Jay as one of our famous Elk Grove residents for he has a long history of his family here in Elk Grove. We thank him for keeping us informed about his family! I plan to write more about long ago families.

NOTE: The Elk Grove Historical Society had a fantastic Yard Sale last week, and the members send a huge thanks to all who made the many great donations and those who attended and purchased the many treasures that were available! I will write more about the event next week.

NOTE: We are greatly saddened that there is no History Week taking place this year. For several years we have enjoyed all the events, including the Plow-to-Plate dinner, Pinkerton Picnic in the Park, the tour of Old Town and the tours of the local cemeteries. We thank David Lema and the historical society and many others who created this great event, and we truly look forward to having it back next year.

NOTE: Many of us are saddened about the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and we send our condolences to her friends, family, and her many supporters!


History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold

History Happened Here, Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools

We the People, a Story of Internment in America

All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made possible the 80 scholarships with each one $1,000  – make your check for books payable to Laguna Publishers and send to me at 9227 Lamprey Drive, Elk Grove, CA 95624.  Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one book; $5 for 2-3 books. Call me at (916) 685-0606 or email me at elizabethpink@gmail.com.  Books are also available at the Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse.