In a recent interview conducted inside her modest Orange Estates home, Dr. Stauffer recalled how she and her late husband, Floyd, a national diving champion, met in medical school and fell in love. They married in 1943, the same year she became a physician. The couple moved to Montebello to start their life together.
Even back then Downey was a step-up community. They moved into a new track house on Via Amorita and later into a spacious, custom-built home on the 7200 block of Rio Flora Place, abutting the Rio Hondo Golf Course. In a twist of fate, another Downey civic leader, Councilman Rick Rodriguez, lives in the same house today.
“I didn’t find out until later that we bought her old house,” said Rodriguez. “I consider it great karma – she’s a great example of what giving is all about. Any leader in our city, no matter who they are, should aspire to be like Dr. Stauffer.”
Dr. Stauffer’s first medical clinic was a brick two-story office building at La Reina Avenue and 2nd Street in downtown Downey. She later moved to Gallatin Medical Center at Paramount Boulevard and 5th Street, and then finally into the medical offices on Brookshire Avenue, across from Downey Community Hospital, as it was known then.
To hear Dr. Stauffer tell it, her foray into community service happened naturally, sort of like a boulder rolling down a hill.
First, in response to rising gang violence in Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs in the late 1980s, Dr. Stauffer joined the organizing committee that created Gangs Out of Downey. Then she joined the Downey Sister Cities Association, helping to strengthen the bond between Downey and Mexico. After that, she joined the Christian Business Women’s Association.
“And then one day I went to a Downey Christian Men’s Association meeting,” she shrugged.
Dr. Stauffer retired from medicine in 1993, three months shy of her 80th birthday. She downsized into her current home, where plaques, scrolls and framed certificates dating back several decades adorn the walls.