Walk of Fame
La Mesa Walk of Fame
Since the incorporation of La Mesa in 1912, the city has benefited from the influence and achievements of residents and businesses within its borders. The mayor and City Council felt it important to recognize individuals’ important contributions to the City by adding their names to the La Mesa Walk of Fame. Each recipient is recognized through the placement of a bronze plaque on the sidewalk of La Mesa Boulevard in the downtown La Mesa Village between Spring Street and 4th Street. La Mesa is proud to honor its leaders who have made La Mesa one of the best cities in the nation.
Criteria for Consideration
- Residency or long-time business involvement in the City of La Mesa
- Individuals’ contributions should be in the best interest of all La Mesans and both noteworthy and verifiable
- City receives positive recognition because individuals grew up or matriculated in La Mesa
- Individuals will not be judged on the basis of profession, gender, or whether or not they are deceased
- Individuals will not be considered if they were or are currently politicians or controversial in any way
La Mesa Walk of Fame Recipients
Elmer Drew moved to La Mesa with his family in 1912. He started working as a young man in an automobile repair shop. He later acquired that shop and continued to expand his experience and customer base. The Ford Motor Company subsequently approached Elmer in 1934 to open a dealership. The Drew Ford dealership has become one of La Mesa’s oldest and most successful businesses. Elmer Drew was admitted to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on April 28, 1998.
DR. ELLEN OCHOA
At the age of six months, Dr. Ellen Ochoa and her family moved to La Mesa. Dr. Ochoa is a graduate of Grossmont High School and San Diego State University, where she was her graduating class Valedictorian. She then went on to Stanford University where she earned her Master and Doctorate degrees. Selected by NASA in 1990, Dr. Ochoa became the worlds’ first Hispanic female astronaut in 1991 as a member of the STS056 Space Shuttle “Endeavor.” Dr. Ellen Ochoa was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on April 28, 1998.
SARAH A. “NAN” COUTS
Sarah A. Couts was one of the key historic figures in the San Diego region. She dedicated 40 years to the service of others during her longtime residency in La Mesa. She was a founding force behind the construction of Grossmont Hospital and the La Mesa Youth Center at MacArthur Park. Sarah A. Couts was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on April 28, 1998.
Bill Walton graduated from Helix High School and was a three-time recipient of the N.C.A.A. player of the year award. He earned two championship N.B.A. titles and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also the recipient of two Emmy awards for his work in broadcasting and film-making. Bill Walton was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on September 9, 2003.
Ed and Sandra Burr founded EDCO Disposal Corporation in 1954 in La Mesa. EDCO has grown into the largest family owned and operated waste collection and recycling firm in the United States. EDCO has served as La Mesa’s franchise waste collection hauler since 1967, assisting with La Mesa’s waste diversion efforts and those of many counties within Southern California. As a prominent businessman in La Mesa, Mr. Burr has made both personal and financial commitments to our City. Ed Burr was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on September 9, 2003.
Ed and Sandra Burr founded EDCO Disposal Corporation in 1954 in La Mesa. EDCO has grown into the largest family owned and operated waste collection and recycling firm in the United States. EDCO has served as La Mesa’s franchise waste collection hauler since 1967, assisting with La Mesa’s waste diversion efforts and those of many counties within Southern California. Mrs. Burr represents EDCO’s numerous charitable interests and continues to contribute to the vitality of the San Diego region. Sandra Burr was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on September 9, 2003.
J.O. Orsborn resided in La Mesa his entire life and was a well-known member of the community. At the age of 15, in 1941, he began his career as a volunteer fireman with the La Mesa Fire Department. He was appointed fire Chief in 1981, Chief Orsborn retired in 1990 after 46 years of service. He served with the California Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Training Officer’s Division, and Pioneer Hook & Ladder Museum in San Diego. J.O. was also active with San Diego Boy Scouts, serving in various capacities and was awarded the Silver Beaver Medal for his long service. J.O. Orsborn was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on May 22, 2007.
JAMES (JIM) CULBERT
James Culbert was known worldwide in sprint car racing circles as a builder, seller and driver of sprint and super-modified cars. In the late 1940s, he founded Culbert Automotive Engineering (CAE) that evolved into an auto racing superstore. James was also the record holder for speed in sprint and modified roadsters, and in 1957 he was the first driver to exceed 200 mph in a sprint car. Shortly before his death in 2004, Mr. Culbert was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa. James Culbert was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on June 12, 2007.
MARY ALICE BRADY
As a former foster herself, she became a champion of programs and services for children, especially those in foster homes.. Mary’s lifelong mission is to help improve their quality of life. Her distinguished history of community and civic involvement has included significant roles in creating the Boys & Girls Club in La Mesa, Grossmont Hospital, and the East County YMCA. Mary Alice Brady was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on February 13, 2017.
Ron Brady is a visionary businessman, community leader and philanthropist who gives freely of his time, energy and capital to the community. He is committed to making a difference int he lives of our youth, through donations to the East County Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, and Grossmont Hospital. Ron Brady was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on February 13, 2017.
Mary-Em Howard (1918-2013) exemplified commitment to community service and the importance of volunteering. Together with her husband, Col. Robert C. Howard (Bob), they were active in numerous philanthropic endeavors. Mary-Em served thousands of hours at local hospitals, and was a charter member and officer of La Mesa Beautiful and La Mesa Historical Society. She sponsored planting trees to honor citizens and beautify La Mesa. Mary-Em Howard was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on February 13, 2017.
JOHN B. REED, JR.
John B. Reed, Jr. (1917-2013), known as JB to many, was a residential, church and commercial building contractor who served as special building inspector for the La Mesa Springs project. Baseball was his passion and he sponsored numerous Little League and Pony League teams. He also built La Mesa’s first Little League field, and served on the Boys Baseball of America Board. JB was a long time La Mesa Lions Club member. John B. Reed, Jr. was added to the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame on February 13, 2017.