Lillian DeBorba
born: 03 December 1898
Jefferson, Grundy County, Missouri,
United States of America
died: 22 March 1955
Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(age 56)
American actress, the mother of Dorothy DeBorba.

circa 1895: Lillian's parents, MARY ELIZABETH WHORTON (1875-1950) and WILLIAM NELSON GIBBS (1870-1898) are married in Jefferson, Grundy Co., MO.  Her dad dies either shortly before or after she is born.
circa 1907: her Mom marries JOHN T. SEELEY (1856-1937), a blacksmith/mechanic.
1910 (Census) they are living in Los Nietos (W.Whittier) CA.  They own the home at 620 Pickering free and clear.  Mom's spinster sister ELLA WHARTON lives with them.

[Research Note: actual Census pages are 6B and 12A. LILLIAN B. "GIBS" (looks like "GILES") is on p.6B. It appears at first glance that she is someone else's daughter but close examination will prove otherwise. Actually, the rest of her family (SEELEY) are on the "supplemental" p.12A at the same address.]

1914 (circa) the family moves to Richmond, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. (1914 & 16 Richmond City Dir. at
Not far away, in Oakland lives RAYMOND VICTOR BORBA (1899-1972). BORBA is interchangeable with DeBORBA with BORBA used about 90% of the time for the same person.

1918 Sep.: RAY is (age 18) working as a shipping clerk for Gerwin's (?) Millinery Shop in Oakland. His Dad is an undertaker in town. (WWI Draft Reg.). Not far away, in San Francisco, PAUL WHITEMAN and his orchestra play regularly at the Neptune Palace (his 1917 WWI Draft Reg. with SFO address)

1920 (C): RAY is working as a salesman in a bookstore in Oakland and WHITEMAN rents a home in Los Angeles and has a young couple (a plumber) living there probably to "house-sit" while WHITEMAN & wife traveled. By 1923, he and his wife are living in NYC with FERDE GROFE.(1923 NYC City Dir at

1920 (C) LILLIAN B. is working as a bookkeeper for an apartment house. The family (with Aunt ELLA WHORTON) has moved to 321 W. 75th St., Los Angeles. Between now and June 1924, her Mom divorces Mr.SEELEY and marries JAMES EDWARD SMITH (no dates). She gets the house and he moves in with his sister in Oakland, on the same street and only a few blocks from where they lived in 1910.

1924 April 29 LILLIAN BLANCHE GIBBS gets married in LA. Following is quoted from the "Oakland Tribune 22 June1924" a 4 paragraph article with the usual flowery descriptions of the women's attire.
Temple Baptist Church; Bride: Miss BLANCHE GIBBS: Groom: RAYMOND DeBORBA.
Mr, DeBORBA is a well-known resident. At present he directs the C_s_o (illeg.) Villa Orchestra at Hayward. After the wedding breakfast and reception at the home of the bride's mother, Mrs.J EDWARD SMITH of West 75th Street, Los Angeles, the young couple returned to Oakland.

RAYMOND DeBORBA of Oakland; age 25; Cafe Musician; 1st Marriage.
BLANCHE GIBBS of Los Angeles; age 24; Stenographer; 1st Marriage.
Father of Bride: Wm. NELSON GIBBS born Missouri.
Mother of Bride: MARY WHORTON born Missouri.

1926 Apr 13 "San Diego Union": La Jolla Women's Club formal affair was entertained with songs and dances and "RAY DeBORBA and his Hollywood Harmonists furnished the music".

1927 City Dir.Oakland "yellow pages" for Music Teachers:
"R.V. DeBORBA (drums) 802 27th".
"resident pages"
"RAYMOND V. DeBORBA (BLANCHE) music tchr. h. 502 27th."

1930 Census states that she (31) and Dorothy (5) live with "mother" Mary Smith (54) (assuming this is Lillian's mom?) and lodger Morris Henry (90).  They are renting 1368 Assembly District 55, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA.  She is widowed. Dorothy's dad was born in CA.
On, she and Dorothy are listed with the surname "Deborber." It looks like "DeBorber" on the original document, but at a glance, it could be "DeBorba" with the top of the A missing.
1940 Census (April 24, 1940): She claims married, but no husband is listed.  She and Dorothy A. are renting a house at 2708 East 14th St., Brooklyn Township, Oakland, Alameda County, CA.  She is 42, Dorothy is 15.  She works as a landlady at a rent (?????).
As for Dorothy's father, various sources mention he was a drummer for Paul Whiteman's band.

1939 City Directory Oakland CA: In the "yellow pages" for FLORIST's "Mrs.L.B.DeBorba 2708 E. 14th.
At there is a Public Member Tree: DOROTHY ADELLE DEBORBA (1925-2010); 
Father: RAYMOND VICTOR BORBA b.30Dec1899 in CA d. 26Nov1972 Oakland.
Residence: 1920 C. single; with family in Oakland:he is a "book store salesman"; Dad is "undertaker".
PAUL WHITEMAN residence is LA. His mom is from MO and it looks like he has a married couple (both from MO) living in his house (like maybe permanent house sitters because he is gone so much?).
WHITEMAN at this time worked out of SFO and RAY BORBA lives within "spittin distance". WHITEMAN's June 1917 WWI Draft Reg. says he lives in SFO and works at the Neptune Palace.

1937 City Dir. Oakland
"DeBORBA, RAY (BLANCHE) slsmn h.1658 Hopkins."

1937 "Oakland Tribune" 15 Sep.
"...RAYMOND BORBA, 1658 Hopkins, finance company employee....gave chase after recognizing the car as one which his firm had been seeking for payments." (The car had been used by 2 men in several holdups.)

1939 "San Francisco Chronicle" 18 Mar.: LILLIAN B. files for divorce.

1939 & 40 City Dir. Oakland: "yellow pages" for Retail Florists:
"Mrs.LILLIAN B. DeBORBA 2708 E. 14th."

1940 "San Francisco Chronicle" 5 June: LILLIAN B.'s divorce is final. (In the April 1940 Census. she was still married).

1940 "San Francisco Chronicle" 26 June: RAYMOND V. BORBA (46) marries woman (27) : reside 3475 Midvale, Oakland.

1955 Mar 22: LILLIAN B. DeBORBA dies in LA County. Born 3 Dec.1898 MO: Mom: "WORTON" Dad: GIBBS (CA Death Index).

NOTES: I found no evidence that RAY ever played drums with the WHITEMAN Orchestra or LILLIAN being a professional dancer.

The CADI has LILLIAN under 4 names with all having exactly the same info including a single SSN. The only difference is they have 2 State of CA "death id's" # 1506658 and # 1598985.

I haven't found who the ZAHL was that she married. Back in 1910 in Los Nietos there were 2 ZAHL Families with MO roots like LILLIAN. The ZAHL Family that lived on Pickering, a few blocks away, had a daughter LILLIAN's age (12) and 2 brothers aged 15 & 17, but I have not been able to connect them to her. That family moved to TX before 1920.

Much of the pre-1910 info comes from the Public Member Family Tree of CherylMcKenzie57 at
Real name: Lillian Blanche Gibbs Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Sons Of The Desert
Theatre patron
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess -

Acknowledgements: (Family Search) (Family Search) (Family Search) (Family Search) (Family Search) (Family Search) (Dorothy's obit - LA Times) (Family Search) (Family Search)
Jesse Brisson, Jim Jarvis (help and assistance)

This page was last updated on: 18 October 2014