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StoryCorps San Joaquin: A Fresnan Fondly Recalls Life Lessons From His Pioneering Grandma

Jeff Bowman and StoryCorps facilitator Ava Ahmadbeigi

And now it’s time for StoryCorps San Joaquin, edited conversations from the mobile 2020 tour in Fresno and Bakersfield documenting the stories of Valley residents. Today Jeff Bowman tells StoryCorps facilitator Ava Ahmadbeigi about childhood summers spent with his pioneering grandmother, Billy Murphy. At age 46, she became the first woman to operate a fire lookout tower in California, 8,000 feet up in the San Bernardino National Forest. That was shortly after WWII and she did it for the next 23 years. 

Alice Daniel was News Director for KVPR from 2019-2022. Daniel has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and more than 25 years of experience as a print and radio journalist.
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