Teddy Casas Finally Receives a Grave Marker More than 70 Years after Perishing in the Great Flood of 1938

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Photo Courtesy of Orange County archives, via Orange County History Roundup
In 2005, I penned a cover story about the Great Flood of 1938, Orange County's worst natural disaster until the Big One finally decides to erupt. An accompanying column listed the names of every flood victim the Weekly was able to identify, an arduous task given records are inexact. One of the victims listed in newspapers of the time was 12-year-old Teddy Casas, of the Placentia barrio of Atwood; her brother survived by hanging on to a telephone pole throughout the night of the flood.

Last month, I received an email from a descendant of Casas who had found my story online. She wrote to me with shocking news: the story had helped her family finally locate the remains of Casas more than 70 years after she perished.
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DeCasas' marker, in Loma Vista Memorial Park

According to the woman, Teddy Casas--real name Tiburcia DeCasas--was her aunt and had received a pauper's burial after the Great Flood of 1938. The county never bothered to tell the DeCasas family where they buried Teddy, and the family had to live with the painful reminder of her disappearance for over 70 years.

Earlier this year, the niece of Teddy Googled her aunt's name as part of trying to fill in her ancestry tree and came across our article. Inspired by it, she then played detective, amassing a list of cemeteries that existed in 1938 that might have served as a final resting place for Teddy, and decided to visit Loma Vista Memorial Park in Fullerton. The niece asked the workers there if they had any records of someone with the last name of Casas or any variants in their records. After digging through their archives, the Loma Vista people found a tattered, yellowing index card showing DeCasas was buried there in an unmarked grave.

In June, the relatives of Tiburcia DeCasas--including one of her surviving brothers, now in his 80s--gathered enough money to buy the gravestone seen above. And now, another ghost of the Great Flood of 1938 can finally rest in peace.


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