We are delighted to introduce you to Susan Campos as part of our “Neighbor of the Month” series-an effort started last November to highlight Elysian Valley residents. It is our sincere hope that doing so contributes in some fashion to better know one another, build, grow and appreciate the make-up of our community. The NW thanks Susan and her family for their contribution to EV.
Susan Campos was born in El Paso, TX to Eumelia and Luis Buonvino in 1947. Her mom was from Chihuahua, MX and her dad from Connecticut. She has called Elysian Valley home for 63 years and lives in the same home on Blake and Knox Ave. purchased by her mom in 1951. She attended Allesandro, Saint Theresa and Divine Savior Elementary schools. She went on to attend Via Cabrini High (present day Woodbury University) and graduated from John Marshall High School in 1965.
Susan has fond memories of her early upbringing in Elysian Valley. “The LA River was our playground, we went in the water, skipped over rocks and collected polliwogs”, says Susan. She too remembers fun times on a tire swing hung from a tree at the Knox St. Park. Playing outside until late in the evening was common in the summer time.
Susan is married to Jose Campos and together they have two children (Adrian & Andy). They have been married for 46 years. She and Jose met while Jose was working in Elysian Valley and while it was not love at first sight, she quickly felt in love with his polite manners, love for family and good looks. “It helped that he paid my medical costs resulting from a burnt leg while riding on his motorcycle”, says Susan.
Like other long-term residents, Susan recalls the frogs of Elysian “that flooded the streets”. She remembers riverfront property houses and a lively business district on Riverside Dr. Elysian Valley had a Safeway, Wongs Market, two gas stations, a furniture store, two family doctors (Dr. Aragon and Dr. Matson), Casantas (an Italian store), a pharmacy between Benedict and Queen St. and Bea’s Mexican restaurant on Allesandro St. and Nick’s Bar on Knox St. Susan misses not having to venture out for these basic services that were once so prevalent.
Susan likes the diverse make-up of our community, loves her neighbors and worries that the revitalization that is unfolding will displace long-term residents of Elysian Valley. She does not want to see the displacement of Chavez Ravine (Dodger Stadium site) replayed in EV. She is in favor of responsible development.
Susan retired in 2013 after 30 years of service with LAUSD and is enjoying life as a grandmother. Her grandson Ramon is a junior attending Chaminade High School. When asked if it is better to be a parent or a grandparent, Susan is quick to say that “being a grandparent is better because it is just awesome”.
Susan is a practicing Catholic and attends St. Ann’s Parish on Blake and Riverdale Ave. Her faith is very important to her and she thanks her mom for having instilled God in her life at an early age.
Having three generations of her family raised in Elysian Valley, Susan cannot imagine living anywhere else. She wants her tombstone to read “Here lies and oldie but goodie that loved her neighborhood and its people.”