Cover photo for Julene Acton's Obituary
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Julene Acton

July 26, 1930 — December 4, 2023

Julene Acton

July 26, 1930 — December 4, 2023

Julene (Jodie) Kelson Acton
Julene Kelson Acton was born in Los Angeles on July 26, 1930, to Lolan and Nelda Kelson. She didn’t like
the name Julene and always went by the name Jodie. She was the eldest of 5 children. Her siblings were,
Jed Lolan Kelson, Clair Hyer Kelson (who died in infancy), Richard Dale Kelson and Carolyn Kelson Dunn.
She outlived all her siblings, which was a source of pain for her. Her brother, Richard, was born with a
heart defect which caused his death at 29 in 1973. Jed passed away in 2017 at the age of 84. Carolyn
passed away very suddenly in 2019 at the age of 73. Jodie was 93 when she passed. In her last days, she
longed to be reunited with her family.

Jodie grew up in California. Her father was a baker for Golden Krust Bakery. At the age of nine, her
family moved to Indio, California to start their own bakery, called Tastee Bakery. At that time, Indio was
a very small, very hot desert community. There were also not very many members of the church. Lolan
Nelda started a branch of the LDS church and conducted church meetings in their living room. They lived
in Indio for 3 years, and Lolan said he considered their time there as a mission for the church. It was
while they were living in Indio that an oven blew up in Lolan’s face. He was burned all over his body,
except where his garments covered his skin. Lolan often shared that story as a testimony of the
blessings of the gospel.

The bakery was not a financial success, so the Kelson’s relocated to Los Angeles and Lolan continued to
work in bakeries. He eventually started delivering for bakeries and then started his own food truck. Jodie
had many memories of working with her Dad making deliveries.

Jodie graduated from Marshall High School in LA. After high school, she worked at the perfume counter
in a department store and then as a switchboard operator for the phone company. The switchboard she
used was the old-fashioned kind with cables and plugs. She would have to announce the call and then
plug the line into the right hole to connect the call.

In 1956 Jodie’s roommate, Jo Anne, and her boyfriend, Joe Conte set her up on a blind date with Joe’s
friend Don Acton. Don was attending Glendale College and studying accounting. He told Joe that he had
too much homework to go on a date, but Joe convinced him. Don and Jodie went to see the movie “Love
is a Many Splendored Thing” on their first date. Joe and JoAnne Conte became lifelong friends of Don
and Jodie. Don stopped smoking when he started dating Jodie. It was a bad habit he picked up in the
Navy. He always said that Jodie saved his life by making him stop smoking. He joined the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they were married on April 12, 1957, in her parent’s home. They had four
daughters, Carol Lynn, Anne Louise, Ellen Mae and Janice Dawn. Jodie gave all her daughters middle
names because she did not have one. Nelda believed that girls didn’t need middle names because they
would get married, and their maiden name would become their middle name. But Jodie wanted her girls
to have their own middle names. Some of her daughter’s names came the soap operas that she loved to
watch and discuss with her mother, others were family names. Don and Jodie were sealed in the Los
Angeles Temple in June of 1958 when Carol was a month old.

Don and Jodie bought their first home in Eagle Rock. It was taken by the state for the construction of the
134 freeway. They then moved to Glendale. The house in Glendale had a pool. The pool was a major
draw for the neighborhood kids. During the summer, Jodie would put a flag on the front lawn to invite
neighbors to come swimming during a specific time. The rule was that no child could ask “if/when the
flag would be put out” and they could not swim without a parent, so while the kids swam the women
visited. Kids from several blocks around the house would come to our street to see if the flag was up. It
was typical 1960s life.

Jodie encouraged her girls to read. They often made trips to the local library and picked out several
books each. They would then pass them around and discuss them. Don and Jodie bought a small trailer
when was commuting to San Bernardino for a construction job. They would take the trailer beach
camping north of Los Angeles. The trailer had an upper bunk that was always full of books.
Don was a master electrician with the IBEW union and Jodie was a stay-at-home Mom. Family was very
important to Don and Jodie. Jodie made a lot of the girl’s clothes. She was always sewing. When they
were little, the girls had matching outfits for Easter every year until they grew old enough to object. But
even then, she still made them clothes. She would take them to the fabric store to pick out material and
patterns instead of shopping at department stores. She would often make Carol a new dress for church
dances and finish hemming it right before Carol ran out the door. Carol remembers getting in the car
and sitting on the pins in the hem. For a time, Don’s mother lived with them, and they remodeled the
house in Glendale to be more accessible for her.

In the late 70s when the girls were all in school, Jodie reluctantly went back to work. She worked for
Medtronic for several years delivering pacemakers to hospitals. She would wear a pager in case she had
an emergency delivery. Sometimes she would have one of the girls call her pager if she wanted to get
out of something she did not want to do, like choir practice.

They lived in Glendale until 1978 when they moved to Big Bear for a time and then they lived in
Burbank. In 1979 Carol got a job at Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a summer hire secretary. She worked there every
summer while she was going to BYU. During that time, she got her sister’s jobs there and then her Mom.
All the Acton women worked at JPL at some point in their careers. Jodie worked as a secretary at JPL and
made many friends. She was known for bringing her seven-layer-dip to every office party. For a time,
Jodie and Carol carpooled to work together when Carol lived in Sun Valley. Jodie retired from JPL in 1994
on the same day that Carol went on maternity leave to have her youngest son, Nicholas.
Don and Jodie sold their home in Burbank to buy a multi-dwelling property in Granada Hills so that
Jodie’s parents could live with them. The property had two houses and a recreation space that Don
converted to a studio apartment. It was just down the street from Ellen’s home. Nelda, Jodie’s mother,
had developed Alzheimer’s and Lolan needed help caring for her. Janice lived in the apartment between
the two houses with Don & Jodie in the front and Lolan & Nelda in the rear. Don and Jodie would escape
for weekends in the RV and Janice would help with Lolan and Nelda in their absence. Nelda passed away
in 1989 and Lolan passed in 1996, a few years after moving to Tucson, Arizona to live closer to Jodie’s
sister Caroline.

Don & Jodie were in Granada Hills when the 1994 Northridge earthquake hit. They were remarkably
close to the epicenter. Thankfully their house was not too damaged, but Jodie lost her extensive snow
global collection and many broken dishes. It was at the Granada Hills house that they expanded their
recreational vehicle to a motorhome. They spent many years with a trailer and camper combination but
made the move to a motorhome to prepare for full-time RV life. Don retired 2 years before Jodie, so
they took a lot of small trips until she retired.

After she retired, they sold the Granada Hills house and bought an even bigger motor home. They were
full time RV'ers for 20 years and loved it. They traveled all over the country. Some of their favorite places
were Branson, Missouri and Phoenix, Arizona for the Dodgers Spring training. Then they would go down
to Tucson to visit Jodie’s sister, Carolyn. Jodie loved visiting her sister, Carolyn. When the two of them
were together, they laughed all the time.

They would spend every January in Laughlin, Nevada for Don’s birthday and the Super Bowl with Don’s
cousins. They bought an RV spot in Aguanga, California, 10 miles east of Temecula where Anne was
living at the time. By that time Ellen was living in Washougal, Washington so would spend winters in
Aguanga and summers in Washougal stopping by Foster City on the way to visit Janice. You would know
that Don & Jodie were on their way to visit when a package of their mail arrived in your mailbox
Eventually they sold the spot in Aguanga and bought a home in Washougal Washington to use as their
home base. The house in Washougal had a separate parking place for the RV. When Jodie fell out of the
RV for the third time, seriously injuring her back and having to be transported back to Washougal, their
daughters told them they had to stop the RV life, and they sold the RV. That was very hard for them, and
they often reminisced about their RV adventures.

Don & Jodie lived in Washougal for 15 years. After Jodie fell and fractured her hip, in 2021, they had
caregivers that would come and assist them with their daily activities. They moved to Utah at the
beginning of November when it became necessary for Jodie to have 24-hour care.
Jodie passed away peacefully on December 4th with Don and Anne at her bedside. She will be buried in
Forest Lawn, Glendale on Friday, January 5th after a service at the Wee Kirk of the Heather.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service of Julene Acton

Friday, January 5, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Glendale - Wee Kirk o' the Heather

1712 South Glendale Avenue, Glendale, CA 91205

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