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California Park Owner Virginia Welton Dies

Virginia WeltonWelton

Virginia Ardel Welton, a longtime owner of California’s Orangeland RV Park in Orange, died Jan. 15 after a battle with cancer. She was 103.

Welton helped her husband launch the precursor to the California Outdoor Hospitality Association (CalOHA) a half-century ago.

The following obituary for Welton is from Dignity Memorial:

The daughter of Dr. Floyd C. Turner and Anna Elizabeth Thompson, Virginia was born April 10, 1920 in Princeton, West Virginia. When she was 5, Virginia’s father, a physician in the U.S. Health Service, was assigned to an immigration facility in Ireland, so she spent three years in Ireland with her parents and sisters, years she remembers fondly.

In 1936, Virginia met Eldredge “El” Welton at a church youth group in Newton, Massachusetts. A romance blossomed, and the couple were married June 14, 1941 in Washington, D.C. They celebrated 71 years of marriage shortly before El’s passing in 2012. Virginia and El welcomed four children. A son Scott, born in 1943, died in infancy. Virginia’s survivng children, mentioned above, are Cynthia Wimbish, 1944; Stephen Welton, 1947; and Janis Beghtol, 1956. Additionally, Virginia is survived by eight grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.

In December of 1957, Virginia, El, and family moved to Southern California, having lived for several years in Bridgeport and later in Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1959, El and Virginia purchased Val Verde Estates mobile home park in Orange, California. Virginia managed the park, and El continued to work in the aerospace industry.

Virginia eventually did pursue nursing, but it was a dream deferred. She did not take nursing courses until she was in her 50’s and had moved with her family to Southern California, ultimately working briefly as a nurses’ aide. She left that behind, however, to travel the world via cruises (there are a few countries in the world she and El did not visit) and the U.S. via motorhome and trailer, having become avid RVers.

She and El built and operated Orangeland RV Park Inc. in Orange, opening the park in 1972. They shared a love of travel, adventure and sailing, owning two sailboats over a period of several years.

Shortly after her husband’s death, Virginia decided to sell the home in Orange the two had lived in and move into a trailer in Orangeland RV Park.

Extremely proud of Orangeland, in her later years, she loved to tell everyone about the park and to boast a bit about her age. She loved to say, “I am not old, I have just lived a long time.”

At Virginia’s request, no flowers, please. In lieu of this, donations may be made to the cancer research organization of your choice.

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