Helen Ofield, past president
Lemon Grove Historical Society

LAURA HOOK, LEMON GROVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, KNOWS THE TOWN SHE SERVES

by Helen Ofield

LGHS President Laura Hook
January 1, 2021

Laura Hook, the president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society, has been a San Diego County resident since infancy and a history buff since age six.

She was born in Bethesda, Maryland, and grew up with her three sisters in Imperial Beach, California, after making her first cross-country trip as a babe-in-arms. Her parents hailed from North Dakota and Minnesota, so when they saw San Diego after WW II, they knew they had found paradise.

Hook’s father was a Navy hospital corpsman and her mother was a nurse. No wonder Hook’s choice of career spanned 40 years at Kaiser Permanente as a Hospital Unit Coordinator. Her father also taught history in the San Diego City School District, hence her love of history and its great stories from a young age. Her childhood was filled with music, dancing and travel.

She said, “Until we moved from Imperial Beach, I never knew San Diego got hot!”

Hook attended St. Charles Elementary and Marian High School before attending Mesa and Grossmont Colleges, where she earned an A. S. in Medical Assisting and Business Administration.

Her move to Lemon Grove 40 years ago was prescient. She married her neighbor, John Hook, in 1985. (See her exquisite antique lace wedding dress on loan in the Parents’ Room of the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive, Lemon Grove.) Their two beautiful daughters attended San Miguel Elementary, Lemon Grove Middle School and Helix High School. Laura was president of the PTA in each school and, ultimately, PTA president for the whole school district. This, along with teaching reading to grades one, two and three in an after-school program. Concurrently, she served three years as a Lemon Grove Planning Commissioner

These busy community roles gave Laura an in-depth knowledge and understanding of Lemon Grove, the little town with a Big Lemon.

Over the years Laura found a second home at the Lemon Grove Historical Society after the Hooks attended a “History Alive” lecture. “I was hooked!” she notes.

She served as a volunteer docent in the Parsonage Museum for several years before joining the board as Secretary. She was voted President in October, 2020 shortly after retiring from Kaiser.

The role of President is never dull. Laura interfaces with her board almost daily; runs rental events in the H. Lee House, adjacent to the Parsonage Museum, where she is still a docent; overhauled her first museum exhibit, Miller Dairy Remembered; keeps up with historical novels; travels the U. S. and the world; is an avid zumba dancer; ushers at The Old Globe; walks with Walter-the-weiner-dog; and adds to the unending “Honey Do” list for her husband and best friend, John.

That’s our prez!

Did we mention her rollicking sense of humor, patience, efficiency and equilibrium? If those aren’t presidential qualities, we don’t know what is.

Laura Hook can be reached at ahoyhook@yahoo.com and at www.lghistorical.org.

Helen Ofield

Helen M. Ofield is the past president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society. She spearheaded the saving of Lemon Grove's first church (built 1897) and its adaptive reuse as the Parsonage Museum of Lemon Grove, and the saving of the H. Lee House (built 1928) and its adaptive reuse as the city's cultural center. Her civic history,  Images of America: Lemon Grove (Arcadia 2010) features photographic content by Pete Smith. She is an award-winning writer-producer for national and regional film and television, as well as for print and online news media, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, former seven-year member of the San Diego County Historic Site Board, and a long-time historic preservationist.