Bruno and Ellen Tonin

Hi all, my name is Bruno Tonin. In school I was always in the middle of the pack and played the bench warmer position on the Varsity football team and ran track. Little did I know that later in life running would help me in my career. During High School I was not interested in the academic world and only went through the motions in order to graduate and get on with my life. In my adult years I went back to school and excelled in many interesting classes.

After graduation I went to work for Safeway at Rose and Lincoln in Venice and also attended SMCC. Each year I was placed on academic probation and then I would take a summer school class of either welding or auto shop and would get A's and then be placed on the honor roll until the next year. I said that I didn't like school but I never said that I was stupid. I finally took Administration of Justice classes and found my calling in life.

In early 1966 I met the love of my life, Ellen Smith. She was a junior at St. Monica HS and we have been together ever since. She is my best friend and soulmate. We were married in 1968 and as of June of this year have been married 46 years.

In late 1966 I applied and went through the hiring process for the LAPD and was accepted to the Academy. In July 1967, five days after turning 21 I started the Police Academy. I was young and overwhelmed by the academy but I knew I was going to make it, I loved it.

During the last month of the Academy I was assigned weekends working a Division. My first weekend I worked Venice. I was so excited but scared not knowing what to expect.
On that first night I faced life head on. A call came out of a shooting. Upon arriving I went into the rear yard of a home and observed a person lying on the grass. I picked his head up, he looked at me and died in my arms - he had been shot 7 times. I was 21 and never saw a person die, I grew up that night. During the time on the job I saw many people die and also how people treated others - some good and some that had no respect for others or for life in general.

I might add that in 1968 I joined the Marine Corps Reserves and spent 6 years as a weekend warrior.

I worked patrol from 1967 until 1970. In 1970, having never rode a motorcycle, I signed up to be a motor cop. Somehow I passed and spent 18 years riding for the Department. I hated writing tickets but loved arresting drivers under the influence and spend most of my time on a detail called the Duce Watch. I spent time working Watts, Central LA, Hollywood, West LA and Venice area. I think I worked special details in every part of LA. In 1980 I became a motor sergeant and was in charge of the Duce Watch.

I feel that the late 60's and 70's were some of the most interesting time in the city. I was continually taken off motors and assigned to some special task force. Life was very interesting and exciting. To name just a few, I was involved in the black panther shoot out, Manson murders, the hillside strangler case and the SLA shoot out. There were many others but I don't want to bore you. At times it was dangerous but I knew that I was going home each night - I had a wife and two daughters to raise.

While on the Department I met 2 "old time" Venice builders who took me under their wings and taught me the building trade. I obtained my general contractors license and built homes and did remodels in Venice and Marina Del Rey. All of my building profits were saved for our two daughters educations.

In 1987 I came down with a serious medical condition that caused me to spend 2 1/2 months at St. John's Hospital. I was in ICU for 30 days and "coded" 3 times. Somehow I survived and had to learn to walk again. Due to my medical condition I retired from the Department, which was one of the saddest days of my life.

In 1988 our daughters were attending Notre Dame Academy High School in WLA. The Principle contacted me to do a small remodel at the High School. I spent 12 years there and over saw a few million dollars of work. I represented the Sisters and looked out for their interest. My title was the Facilities Director, I called myself the janitor.

When our daughters graduated from College - "LMU", Ellen and myself moved to a little town called Cambria in Central Ca. We spent 12 years there and had the time of our lives. Ellen opened a gift shop called "Ellen's Cottage" and I worked 4 years at the Hearst Castle as a tour guide. Her gift shop was so busy that she had to hire employees and I had to quit the Castle and go to work for her.

In 2004 we had to sell the business because my mom and dad became ill. During the time she owned the business we bought the commercial building and thus became landlords. We moved to Valencia until they passed away and then we moved and currently live in the Ventura area - in Channel Island's Harbor. We also have a home in Cambria and go back and forth in between our traveling. Our grandkids call our homes - the dock house and the beach house.

Our daughters have gone beyond our expectations, they are married to two great guys and they each gave us 2 grandkids, current ages 11,13,15 and 19. Our oldest granddaughter is at the University of Redlands.

Our oldest daughter, Carolyn Hoffman is the Principle of Serra Vista Jr HS in the Hart school District in Santa Clarita and our other daughter, Michele Doll was Principal of schools in the Glendale School District and for 3 years was the Principal of La Cresenta HS and currently is the H&R Director at the District office. Our daughter, Michele, received her PHD in Education from USC. Our other daughter, Carolyn is starting her PHD program in Education. Thank God they got their intelligence and looks from Ellen.

We are currently retired but keep busy managing our various rental properties and travel as much as possible.

Enough boring info, I hope to see many of my old classmates at the Reunion.

Bruno and Ellen Tonin