Unassuming Head of Glendale Programs for Seniors Retires

Times Staff Writer

Betty Dimond sits in her office at City Hall and discusses the nine years she's been in charge of Glendale's senior citizen programs. In doing so, she credits a multitude for the improvement in the city's seniors programs: local government, area volunteers, federal government.

She credits everyone, it seems, but herself.

But talk to her peers in the senior services community and it won't take long to see the retiring supervisor for senior citizen programs is only deflecting attention.

Dimond, 57, has been most valuable as "a go-between for the city and seniors, so that the city knows what the community seniors need," said Louise Briley, program coordinator of the Adult Recreation Center for 22 years. "That's very important. . . . A lot of programs were started because of this."

Glendale's senior community, third-largest in the Los Angeles area, will have a new conduit between it and the city. Dimond retires Friday from a career she began at an age when others reached the height of theirs.

Nello Iacono, director of parks, recreation and community services, said the programs in which Dimond has been most instrumental include the nutritional meals program, which serves 260 people a day at area senior centers; home sharing, a program that matches seniors with those of similar rooming habits, and renovation of the building that houses the Sparr Heights center.

Her sojourn into gerontology began in the mid-1970s after two of her three children graduated from high school and homemaking alone ceased to be all that interesting.

"When our youngest was in school a lot, I discovered gerontology was what I wanted to do," she said. "It was just a feeling that I wanted to do something a bit more interesting."

So Dimond enrolled at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where she received her bachelor's degree in gerontology. She then attended USC's Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, where she received her master's degree in 1980.

All the while, she interned in the field of gerontology. "It was very challenging, " she said.

Dimond's involvement with the Adult Recreation Center began that same year. Initially, she worked with the nutritional meals program that now serves 260 seniors a day. As she presided over the center and two other facilities in the area, Dimond established relationships with seniors and volunteers.

Before leaving her job with the city, she managed to honor both in one event.

Fred Pallatieri, immediate past president of the Greater Glendale Council of Aging, worked with Dimond, who serves as a board of directors member. While helping plan Glendale's first seniors fair last spring, it was Dimond, Pallatieri said, who came up with the idea of holding it in conjunction with a date to recognize outstanding volunteers in the community.

"She has some very innovative ideas," Pallatieri said. "She's been a major contributor to our success."

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