Stephen James Lunsford - My Stay at the Lark Ellen Home for Boys - 1956-62

In 1968 I changed my name to Brawner.

I arrived at Lark Ellen Home for Boys February 7, 1956. I was 10 years old and very apprehensive at the thought of being left there, not knowing what was in store for me. I was there because somehow I managed to be expelled from a whole school district; obviously I needed some "Tough love". I really missed the grandmother that I would never see again. I was assigned to Lions Den; Joe and Nellie Barnett were the house parents.

I was a difficult child to control, and found myself in hot water most of the time. I attended Lee Elementary, Slauson Junior High, and Glendora High School while at Lark Ellen. I also spent a school year in a special school that was administered by a Dr. Bohiem. Although I left the home at age 16 under less than desired circumstances (Juvenile Hall), I feel that much of what I learned there has served me well throughout my life. After a six moth stint at a Forestry Camp, I went to a half way house for a period of about three months. I quit High School and went to work for Hughes Electronics. I quit the job at Hughes Electronics and went to LaGrange, GA where my mother was living and finished High School. I joined the Navy in March of 1965, and spent the next twenty years there (mostly on Submarines), and retired as a Chief Petty Officer in January of 1985.

After my Navy career, I worked in the commercial nuclear industry as a Journeyman Instrument Technician, and training instructor; developer, manager. I retired as the plant training manager from a nuclear fuel facility in 2003. Since retiring from the nuclear fuel facility I have spent the last three years trying my hand at things that interested me. I have been an over the road truck driver, security officer, substitute teacher in the local high schools, and am currently working as part of a drilling and boring crew. I'll probably retire next year and start drawing my Social Security.

I have degrees in Sociology (New York University), and Vocational Education Studies (Southern Illinois University). I have been married twice. I have three daughters from my first marriage, and two sons from the second.

Some of the guys I remember from my "home boy" days: Richard Klinglehofer, Joe Richardson, Earl Smiley, Daniel Boone, Bob Whittington, Joe Cornejo, Gary Karos, Larry Luby, Gary Carpenter, Lynn Lindsley, Kenny Lemming. Staff that I remember; Caddie Goodman, Pop Boyer and his wife, Mr. Latta, Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Gwaltney and her daughter, Mrs. Seltzer. I will try to remember more and add them to this list. My laundry number when I arrived at the home was 555-2.

Somehow I still remember the address of 6620 N. Citrus Ave. I sincerely feel that whatever success that I have had in my life can be attributed to my Grandmother and the dedicated staff of Lark Ellen Home for Boys. I learned core values that have served me well throughout my life; honesty, responsibility, accountability, love of God, love of country, and love of family. I have been truly blessed.

Contact: Stephen James Brawner at: