By Galen Patterson
Part 2: The Clara Baldwin Stocker Home
When Clara Baldwin Stocker died, she had mandated that her wealth be split into three sections. Her two children each received one-third of the estate, while the remaining third went into a trust fund.
The trust fund money was to be used to help women who could no longer care for themselves and whose families could not care for them financially. This was a charitable legacy Clara was planning before her death but the money sat unused for decades.
Three decades after Clara’s death, her grandson Joseph Mullander decided to act upon the instructions of the trust and opened the Clara Baldwin Stocker Convalescent Hospital in West Covina, Calif. in 1963. Mullander ran the institution and passed the reigns off to his son.
Over time, the original mission of helping women broadened to helping men and women, and the leadership was passed from family to qualified individuals outside the family. However, Baldwin descendants have remained on staff ever since.
Read More: Part 1: Meet Lucky Baldwin’s other daughter
Part of what makes the Clara Baldwin Stocker Home so unique is its governance by a board, which controls the funding while maintaining the original intent of Clara. The Home functions as a non-profit so the emphasis is placed on the care of the patients.
On a sunny April morning in 2019, Arcadia Weekly was given an exclusive tour of the facility by Liz Mullander, director of marketing and a direct descendant of Clara. “There have always been family members as employees,” says Mullander.
The single-story, multi-building facility maintains the Baldwin legacy, reaching beyond Clara and showcasing Lucky’s legacy, and deep ties to Arcadia as well.
The halls maintain iconic Baldwin peacock décor, with porcelain plates, frames cards and backlit fiber-optic displays of the exotic bird that freely roams the streets of Arcadia and surrounding communities.
Original paintings of desert landscape – donated by Joseph’s brother-in-law, Vincent Pearson – ensure there is something new to look at between doors, while a large portrait of Clara greets passers-by in the main hallway.
In one of the buildings, a conference room has large portraits of Clara and Lucky at the head of the table. Near the Baldwin portraits is a scaled-down print of an original oil painting commission by Lucky himself, depicting one of the Native American attacks on the Baldwin wagon train as they were crossing the U.S. from Wisconsin to San Francisco. The story behind this painting is extensive, fascinating and ongoing.
The actual building was constructed with meticulous care and generosity. Closets have sprinkler systems installed from the original architecture. The walls are tripled, offering added strength to the building, while providing the residents with privacy and silence. Single-occupant rooms are available, and those who are housed with a roommate are ensured separate television sets.
The therapy garden has a small stream that feeds into a larger pond and a gazebo with routinely-visiting wildlife.
The Clara Baldwin Stocker Home houses mostly temporary residents, meaning people recovering from operations, but it is set up for long-term residents as well. A skilled staff cares for the patients. All of this culminates into the extra level of elegance and generosity that the Baldwin family has become known for in the San Gabriel Valley.