Town’s Oldest Residents Enjoy a Special Birthday Celebration

 

Wally, 94, and wife Naida Hastings (who have been married 58 years) gave the 90th Birthday Party, hosted by the Woman’s Club, a thumbs up.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

The traditional birthday party for residents 90 years and older, hosted by the Woman’s Club, returned in person on May 4, for the first time since 2019. The festive clubhouse was filled with nearly 100 people, including the celebrants, family members and caregivers.

Woman’s Club leaders Margaux Glaser and Maureen Roth welcomed everyone, followed by lunch: A delicious asparagus soup, tasty chicken salad and homemade croissants, prepared by Lily Kagen, who serves as a chef at adjacent Seven Arrows School (which leases the Woman’s Club facility). Dessert featured a white sheet cake decorated with red roses, in keeping with the day’s Kentucky Derby theme.

Former Palisadian-Post Editor Bill Bruns was the day’s featured speaker. “This is one of the most important traditions in our town,” he said, also citing the Fourth of July parade, the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and PPBA baseball’s opening-day pancake breakfast at the park. He thanked club members for continuing the tradition that began in 1996 in Margaret Jones-Kanaar’s backyard on Via de la Paz.

“She was turning 92 and thought it would be fun to have a party with other 90-year-olds,” Bruns said. “We published an invitation in the paper and about 30 people came. Honorary Mayor Eddie Albert attended and signed autographs.”

Jones continued the tradition for two more years before turning everything over to the Junior Women’s Club, and eventually the Woman’s Club, after the two groups merged.

Grace Gonzalez was the oldest woman at the event.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

Realtor Michael Edlen, a stalwart sponsor of the luncheon since 2000, enjoyed his meal and agreed, “This one of the nicer community events.”

When attendees arrived on Kentucky Derby day, they were welcomed to the “Winner’s Circle.” Marge Gold, who attended with her 90-year-old husband Bob, told reporters that as a teenager in Louisville, she rode in the Kentucky Derby parade dressed in jockey silks.

The tables were decorated beautifully with red roses, and club members wore hats as they served their guests.

Dick Meyer, the former senior pastor at Palisades Lutheran Church, said “It is really exceptional, the way they greeted you and the way they took care of you.” Attending with his wife Carrie, 93, he would later be crowned the oldest man attending the luncheon. He will turn 97 on May 29.

Dick Meyer, who will be 97 this month was crowned the oldest man. He and wife Carrie have been married 68 years.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

Grace Gonzalez, who turned 100 in January, was the day’s oldest woman. Bruns noted that she has been attending the luncheon for 20 years, beginning when her late husband, Angel, turned 90. They were married 67 years and had seven children, several of whom joined her at the party.

Ruth Foy will turn 100 in July.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

Ruth Foy, 99, was disappointed that she wasn’t the oldest attendee, but she turns 100 in July and quipped, “I can hardly wait.”

Lee Calvert turns 100 in August. Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

Lee Calvert, who will hit 100 in August, was also a near-winner.

“The first word you think of Lee is dynamo,” Bruns said, noting that she’s in the badminton Hall of Fame, and when she retired from that sport, she began winning age-group tournaments in table tennis. Before a recent injury she was doing 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups every night.

There were about 15 men 90-and-over at the party and about 40 women, which disappointed several women, who had asked for men to be seated at their table. “Why are so few men here?” one woman asked.

The Longest Married Couple award went to Jerry and Emily Mayer, who have been married 71 years. They wed in St. Louis, and after moving to Los Angeles and then Pacific Palisades, Jerry started selling TV scripts to shows like “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H,” the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the “Bob Newhart Show.” He has since written a dozen plays for the Santa Monica Playhouse, to critical acclaim.

Jerry and Emily Mayer were crowned the town’s longest married couple.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

The next longest marriages at the luncheon: Richard Z. Meyer and wife Carrie (68 years) and Wally and Naida Hastings (58 years).

Longtime Palisadian Diane Elder, who is also publisher of Palisades Neighbors magazine, sang four popular songs for an appreciative audience. Woman’s Club members sang Happy Birthday, and then there was a drawing for gift baskets donated by the Ronald Reagan American Legion Post 283, Atria Senior Living, Ciela Senior Living and Cerisa Moncayo of The Palisades Dentists. Gift certificates included those given by Tawnya Warren (blueview ATELIER), K Bakery Eatery + Bakeshop, Pearl Dragon, The Massage Place and Ralphs. Kathy Later donated a crystal decanter. The traditional Photo Booth was sponsored by IHeart Caregiver Services in Beverly Hills.

“Pacific Palisades is the only place to live,” Lee Calvert said, “and I’m not leaving.”

If you know a resident that is 90 or older and didn’t receive an invitation this year, make sure you’re on the Woman’s Club list, so that this person is invited next year click here.

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