Category Archives: Alumni

Russell Rector

Russell Rector – Class of 1949

The sad news that Russell Rector of Trona passed away has come to us this morning from Charlotte (Reeves) Biggs. Russell was a good friend to the Reeves family. More details of Russell’s death should appear in the Ridgecrest Daily Independent in next few days.

The service for Russell is Saturday February 7, 2015 at 9 a.m. Graveside services only with a reception following at the Trona Senior Center.

Hotels in Ridgecrest

For those of you who don’t do Facebook here is the info on the hotels in Ridgecrest:

Springhill Inn and Suites, 760-446-1630 discounted rate of $99 per night
Hampton Inn and suites, 760-446-1968 discounted rate of $99 per night.
Clarion Inn (formerly Carriage inn) 760-446-7910 has a rate of $85 per night, breakfast included.
Best Western, 760-371-2300 has a rate of $74.99, breakfast included.
Heritage Inn, 760-446-6543 has a rate of $75 per night.

Veterans they can on base for 45$ at the base hotels.

These rates do not include tax. When making reservations state you would like the rate for the Trona all classes reunion. You may be able to get a cheaper rate with AAA or AARP. These rates will be effective, at most hotels, until mid September, so make your reservations early. This is not a complete list of places to stay in the area, just the ones offering a discounted rate.

A Message From the Reunion Committee – THS All Class Reunion 2015

The Trona High School All Class Reunion will be held during Homecoming Weekend on October 9th and 10th, 2015. This will be the same weekend as the Gem and Mineral Show and will be filled with many activities. We are only in the early stages of planning, but we know the dates are needed so that travel arrangements can be made.

Jolene (Swearingen) Ankers – Class of 1956

Jolene Ankers

November 14, 1938 – September 20, 2014

Jolene Ankers passed away peacefully in her sleep at home on Saturday, September 20th, 2014.

Born in Trona, California on November 14th, 1938, Jolene was the first born child to Neal and Coila Swearingen, and later a sister, Susan. Jolene attended the University of Nevada from 1956 through 1962, getting married and having two daughters during this time. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She was a teacher in Washoe County for 28 years. During retirement, Jolene enjoyed traveling the country.

Jolene is survived by her husband, Richard Ankers, her daughters, Karyn and Krystin, her grandchildren, Jessyca, Kelcie, Kyle and Kenna, her great-grandchildren, Avery and Greyson, and her dogs, Yogi and Manley.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 11th, 2014, at The Coney Island Bar and Grill at 2:00pm. – See more at:

Jolene Swearingen

Jess D

Jess Dominguez

No, Jess didn’t die. Unfortunately that is how most of my fellow alumni make it to these pages. Maybe this will be a new trend for me, creating posts about living people.

I’ve been wanting to write something about Jess for a long time, ever since he sent sent me the short book he put together about living on Mojave Street. I put it off and then almost forgot but then yesterday Linda Monroe reminded me about what a great story Jess would make. I guess that is the problem. I’m not sure I can do his story justice. I’m going to do my best and come back and revise it when the mood strikes me.

Jess graduated from Trona High School in 1959. His accomplishments make me feel very humble about my own life.

The information attached to the video above and the video say it better than I ever could:

An instructor of life modeling and 3-D design at SDSU for more than 25 years, Jess Dominguez’s work can be seen all over campus.

The War Memorial at Aztec Green, the statue of President Black near the Old Quad and a relief at the Lipinsky Tower are all his creations. He is volunteering his time and talent for the Coryell bust project.

“I want to keep doing things for the university as long as I can contribute,” he said, “and this one is very special.”

Last year, Dominguez sculpted a bust of football coach Don Coryell. (…)

Dominguez said sculpture is intended to be more representational than literal. It should capture a subject’s essence more than a literal likeness that, for example, a figure in a wax museum might represent.

“It’s not supposed to look like a death mask, it’s supposed to look like a sculpture with tool marks and imperfections,” he said.

Before Dominguez casts a final version of a sculpture he tries to have family members or someone close to the subject approve the work.


Jess Dominguez  Jess has come a long way from that house that was on the other side of the tracks on Mojave Street where his family once lived. When I talked to Jess he reminded me of the salted jelly candy that my dad would bring home from work. I didn’t know it but Jess told me that AP&CC would give the candy to the workers. He said that some of the men in the plant would throw their candy over the fence to the kids that were playing on Mojave Street. If I had known that I might have gotten to know Jess much sooner. I loved that salty candy.

Actually I was forbidden by my mother to visit Mojave Street. At that time racism still had a strong hold on the minds of many Americans, including my mother. It wasn’t so much racism as a lack of understanding.

Jess’s book about Trona tells about how his father would find remnants of grain in boxcars that they would sweep up and use as feed for their chickens and how his mother would pass food through a hole in the plant fence so her husband could have a warm lunch at work. Or maybe that was from when we talked?

He also gives credit to his art teacher Lois Pratt for encouraging him to continue with his art. Jess is making a bronze plaque now for the Centennial which will incorporate high points in Trona, like Austin Hall and Valley Wells.

I didn’t know Jess very well. The Dominguez that I knew and that I looked up to at the time was Jess’s older brother, Ernesto. Ernesto was one of my brother’s best friends and since I always looked up to my older brother he and and all his friends were heros in my eyes.

I reserve the right to come back and revise this as I feel the need and I can truly say I’m sorry for postponing writing this for so long.

For more about Jess read:

Professor Emeritus Creates Bronze Bust of Legendary Coach