[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
72°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 17
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]
William Chormicle


| Friday, Apr 12, 2019
Irene Lilley turned 90 years old on April 4 and celebrated the milestone birthday with her husband, actor and stuntman Jack Lilley, a 2008 recipient on Santa Clarita’s Walk of Western Stars, and family and friends at her Canyon Country home on Sunday, April 7, 2019. | Photo: Matt Fernandez/The Signal.
Irene Lilley turned 90 years old on April 4 and celebrated the milestone birthday with her husband, actor and stuntman Jack Lilley, a 2008 recipient on Santa Clarita’s Walk of Western Stars, and family and friends at her Canyon Country home on Sunday, April 7, 2019. | Photo: Matt Fernandez/The Signal.

 

Irene Lilley said she feels much younger than the 90 years she celebrated on Sunday.

Lilley, a Canyon Country resident, turned 90 on April 4 and celebrated Sunday with her family and friends at the home her grandparents built and that she lived in all her life.

Lilley is married to actor and stuntman Jack Lilley, 85, who received a star on Santa Clarita’s Walk of Western Stars in 2008.

“It’s been heaven living here all these years, and my husband could keep all his horses and still go to work close by, so we just stayed here while the rest of Santa Clarita changed,” Lilley said. “I never thought I would live to 90. I still do all the things like cook, take care of my husband and I could drive, but I don’t since I had an operation on my leg.”

Lilley’s first cousins, Henry Balsz and Susan “Twilly” Baker, came back to the family ranch to celebrate with her. Balsz said he has nothing but fond memories of running around the property with Lilley and their other relatives and that the joy he felt being able to be with his cousin was not something that he could explain with words.

“I came all the way from Colorado, so this is a special day for us,” Baker said. “Most of the elders in the family are gone, and it’s just me and my first cousins that are really left from that generation.”

Western way of life
A picture available on SCVHistory.com demonstrated Irene Madrid Lilley’s roots in the Santa Clarita Valley. She’s sitting cross-legged in the K-8 Honby School photo from 1938, which was the year of the “Great Flood” (lesser known than the San Francisquito Dam disaster, the “50-year storm” was not as deadly, but still managed to claim more than 100 lives by estimates available on the local history website).

The flood ultimately washed away the school that year, according to local historians, but Irene’s family remained, living on a ranch in an area that at the time was known as Honby, but is considered part of Canyon Country today.

In Santa Clarita, Irene also met and married Western stuntman Jack Lilley, who’s credited with more than 280 roles in movies, as well as such well-known television shows as “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza” and “High Chaparral,” among many others.

The couple also founded Movin’ on Livestock, a family business that supplies “performing livestock, cast and nondescript livestock, and other relevant animals,” according to the company’s website. The company facilitated the animals for Hollywood films such as both “City Slickers” movies and, more recently, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

A community that cares
Lilley’s youngest son, Clint, told stories about how generous, adventurous and tough she was when he grew up. For example, he told of how she paid for a family friend to attend college or how, even into her 80s, she would drive Clint to the park to help him walk as part of his physical therapy after an accident.

“She is the oak tree that everybody would cling to, and she raised half the kids in the neighborhood,” Clint said. “She grew up in the Depression era, so she knew what it was like to have nothing and didn’t want anyone else to feel like that. It’s almost surreal because I don’t think of her as being 90. I try to keep her mind sharp by asking her if she remembers where she was during certain historic events, and I’m amazed by the things she’s seen in this world.”

Stacy McWatters has known Lilley since she was 8 years old and considers the nonagenarian to be her mother.

“I lost my mom when I was really young and, after that, Irene took me in along with some other kids who hung out here,” McWatters said. “They called us the ranch kids, and we played here and had our horses here, and it was our life. Irene taught me to be a good, honest person and to take care of other people who need help because, over the years, she selflessly and unabashedly has opened up her home and her heart to so many people.”

Lilley credits her longevity to her faith in God and said her proudest achievement is raising her family.

“I know that the dear Lord is here with me and I believe in Him and He believes in me,” she said. “Life is still good to me. I want to be here for my family. They’re all great people, and we’ve never had any problems, so I also thank the Lord that they were here with me today.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Smith Invites Locals to Apply for Local Advisory Committees
Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) invites members of the 38th Assembly District to apply to one of the Local Advisory Committees for 2019-2020.
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Eureka Man Arrested in Castaic on Felony Drug Charges
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Summer Crime Enforcement Team arrested a Eureka man in Castaic on Saturday on charges of felony narcotics sales.
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Pilot Dies in Crash of Single-Engine Aircraft
A pilot died when his single-engine aircraft crashed in a remote area of Newhall on Saturday afternoon.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) invites members of the 38th Assembly District to apply to one of the Local Advisory Committees for 2019-2020.
Smith Invites Locals to Apply for Local Advisory Committees
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Summer Crime Enforcement Team arrested a Eureka man in Castaic on Saturday on charges of felony narcotics sales.
Eureka Man Arrested in Castaic on Felony Drug Charges
A pilot died when his single-engine aircraft crashed in a remote area of Newhall on Saturday afternoon.
Pilot Dies in Crash of Single-Engine Aircraft
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]
William Chormicle
1950 - Dedication of H.M. Newhall Memorial Park, aka Newhall Park [story]
1957 - Lang Station dedicated as State Historic Landmark No. 590 [story]
Lang Station
A Bridgeport couple has uncovered some disheartening news for motorists who grind to a halt as they zip through Valencia, braking for a family of Canada geese, narrowly avoiding a collision with the large birds.
Guardians of Geese at Bridgeport Urge Caution
The Santa Clarita City Council and MADD recognized Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputies Chris Morgan, Tanner Sanchez and Mario Acosta Tuesday for their major role in helping keep local streets safe from drunken drivers.
Deputies Morgan, Sanchez, Acosta Lauded by City, MADD
The city of Santa Clarita’s homeless population increased from 156 people in 2018 to 256 people in 2019, according to city-level data from the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count released Friday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Homeless Population in Santa Clarita Rises Again
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, June 18, starting at 9:30 a.m.
June 18 Meeting Agenda – LA County Supervisors
A motorcycle deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was taken to the hospital mid-afternoon Friday, following a vehicle collision in Valencia.
LASD Motorcycle Deputy Injured in Crash
The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to recognize June as Pride Month on Tuesday, drawing praise from the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or LGBTQ, community.
Santa Clarita City Council to Recognize June as Pride Month
American Coaster Enthusiasts, the world’s largest roller coaster enthusiasts club with more than 5,000 members, will hold their 42nd annual Coaster Con at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm from Sunday-Thursday, June 16-20.
June 16-20: Coaster Con 42 to Ride at Magic Mountain, Knott’s
Medicare doesn’t cover "free" genetic tests or cancer screenings unless a doctor who’s treating you orders them and they’re medically necessary.
Seniors: Say No to ‘Free’ Genetic Tests | Commentary by Greg Dill
Santa Clarita Valley-based all-saxophone chamber ensemble Saxtravaganza will present a free concert at Hart Hall in Wm. S. Hart Park in Newhall on Sunday, June 23, starting at 7 p.m.
June 23: Saxtravaganza Concert in Hart Hall at 7
Seven former students of the Castaic Union School District tell Signal reporter Caleb Lunetta why they returned to teach in the same district.
Former Students Return to Teach in Castaic Schools
Runners of all ages are invited to participate in College of the Canyons' 46th Annual Cross Country Summer Series Thursday evenings from July 11 to Aug. 15.
July 11-Aug. 15: COC Annual Cross Country Summer Series
Inland Empire scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning, handing the JetHawks a 5-4 loss at The Hangar Thursday night.
Late Unearned Runs Cost Lancaster JetHawks Thursday
Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce) released a statement after the House Armed Services Committee completed its markup of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday.
Hill, Armed Services Panel Complete Defense Bill Markup
The air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Saturday, June 15, according to the latest South Coast Air Quality Management District forecast.
AQMD: Air Quality in SCV Unhealthy on Saturday
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station joins the nation in observing Flag Day on Friday, June 14.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Joins in Flag Day Celebration
1916 - Jesse Doty buys White Star Garage; he turns it into Newhall's first Ford dealership [story]
White Star Garage
Benjamin Richter and Carmina Escobar, faculty of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, will perform in Ghost Ensemble’s upcoming concert Apophenia Wolf on Saturday, June 15, in New York City.
CalArts Faculty to Perform in Apophenia Wolf Concert
No more wondering what to do on Friday nights because Friday will be opening night as the sounds of live Jazz and Blues bands once again fill its new location at 24250 Town Center Drive outside the Westfield Valencia Town Center.
Lineup for Valencia Jazz & Blues Summer Concert Series Released
%d bloggers like this: