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On the Town: Centenarian’s birthday party shared with 100 guests

On the Town: Centenarian’s birthday party shared with 100 guests
Elsa Kreider of Glendale recently turned 100 years old. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

What's the ultimate way to spend your 100th birthday? If you're like Elsa Kreider, you have a luncheon for about 100 friends and family at the First United Methodist Church of Glendale.

Organizing the soiree were her daughter, Stephanie Williams, and daughter-in-law, Barby Straub.

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Attending were her other children Stephen and David Straub as well as Wendy Kreider.

Aloha Allure, a six-person troupe, performed Polynesian dances. Also entertaining were church organist Ladd Thomas, who played the piano as choir member Linda Sonntag sang Kreider's favorite songs.

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Joining in the festivities were members of the Co-Weds, a church social group.

Kreider's philosophy is to "keep moving." She played golf for 60 years and now walks a mile three times a week at Descanso Gardens.

In addition to belonging to the church, Kreider is a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization Chapter IH.

She was born on March 26, 1918, in San Francisco, attended first through 12th grades there and continued on to business school, where she learned shorthand and typing.

She met her first husband, Phillip Straub, a dentist, in the church choir.

"I enjoyed music all my life, so to meet someone who enjoyed singing, too, was wonderful. It was a very nice union," she said.

They were was married in Hawaii and lived there for several years. They were there during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

She worked as a secretary for the military Selective Service headquarters, taking dictation from a major. Some of the information was top secret. There were times when she was brought to headquarters via a military car at night during the blackouts.

"It was a very exciting time," she said. "I loved it."

She's lived in Glendale since 1961. She met her second husband, John Kreider, while working as his secretary at Glendale Community College. He was the dean of instruction and retired in 1970.

He continued to teach adult school classes until he passed away in 2004. Kreider Hall, an auditorium and lecture hall, was named in his honor in 1992.

Over her 100 years, the age of computers has been the most surprising development, she said. She uses a cellphone and continues to play bridge and rummy tiles.

"I love life, and I'm very much a person who looks on the bright side of things," she said.

Gala brings Family Promise closer to its goal line

Family Promise of the Verdugos executive director Albert Hernandez with founder Jenny Smith Greene and the Rose Bowl stadium in the background.
Family Promise of the Verdugos executive director Albert Hernandez with founder Jenny Smith Greene and the Rose Bowl stadium in the background. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Family Promise of the Verdugos scored a touchdown when its board of directors held its fourth annual gala called "Coming up Roses" at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The group serves Glendale, Burbank, Eagle Rock, Studio City and North Hollywood by providing temporary shelter and job training to help homeless families return to a place to call home.

Albert Hernandez, the organization's executive director, welcomed the more than 300 supporters attending.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino presented the Impact Award to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center for its continued commitment in ending homelessness throughout the San Fernando Valley.

Rev. Ryan Chaddick presented the Hands On, Hearts In Award to Jenny Smith Greene, founder of Family Promise.

Guests toured the recently opened 1922 Locker Room Museum. Music was provided throughout the evening by deejay Tom Wilke.

The silent auction featured some 80 items up for grabs. Dinner was a sports-themed buffet provided by Wolfgang Puck Catering and included build-your-own hamburgers and an array of side dishes.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at rudolphjoyce10@gmail.com.

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