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Mortgage Nears End at Benefit

The Bayside Settlement House, the only institution of its kind in the state to retain the old-fashioned designation for a neighborhood social-services center, benefited Friday from a kind of anticipatory mortgage-burning party at the San Diego Omni hotel.

The settlement house, which actually operates a pair of facilities (in Linda Vista and City Heights), was founded in 1932 by the Sisters of Social Service and has been aided since 1940 by the Social Service auxiliary. The auxiliary hosted the “Sterling” fashion show and luncheon, one of several fund-raisers this year to help raise $100,000, which would retire the Bayside Settlement House’s mortgages.

Big dreams sometimes call for big guns, and the Social Service auxiliary called upon three of the county’s biggest when it picked socialite and key fund-raiser Virginia Monday and philanthropists Bob and Sherrill Baker for its annual Outstanding Citizen of San Diego awards. The trio proved a more than sufficient draw--some 400 guests attended. (They stayed on to gasp and gape at the occasionally outrageous fashions presented by La Jolla’s Capriccio.)

Auxiliary President Kay Upton called the mortgage retirement a long-held desire. “Bayside Settlement House serves the frail elderly, the homeless and children in a unique way, and has been doing so for 57 years,” she said. “Our auxiliary members have been working quietly to help for nearly all that time. We’re a very humble group.”

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During the awards ceremony, Bob Baker, who owns a number of automobile dealerships, surprised and captivated the audience by the unusual frankness of his acceptance speech.

“Many, many years ago, when I grew up in Los Angeles, it was people like the Sisters of Social Service who kept my life together,” he said. “I’ll never forget the help and direction I received.” Baker said that as a young man, he decided the best way he could repay those who had guided him would be to “make money and contribute it back to society. Through my foundation, I will continue to help organizations that assist the poor and those who are a little mixed-up.”

Master of ceremonies Dan Mitrovich introduced Virginia Monday by expressing the frequently repeated maxim that what any charitable committee in difficulty requires is “a Virginia Monday.” During a 30-year career in volunteer fund-raising, Monday has chaired the Blackstone Ball, 15 years of Andy Williams golf tournament galas and the final three COMBO galas. She will head the American Cancer Society’s annual dinner next May. Praised as “a hands-on person who always gets involved,” Monday accepted her award tearfully, simply saying, “This is a very special day for me.” Later, she said she had prepared a more formal speech and forgotten every word of it when the moment came. “The words just fled. I didn’t know it would be so emotional,” she said.

Capriccio provided one of its startling ramp shows for which it has become well-known. Before the show, proprietor Ollie McNamara said her store’s participation was “Capriccio’s contribution to the community and charity,” adding, with a smile, “And hopefully, the ladies will come in to buy.”

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Kathy Kaveney chaired a committee that included Anne Brown, Mim Sally, Betty Tharp, Donna Guttman and Kay Rippee. Among the guests were Annette and Joe Fritzenkotter (who were surprised with a special “peer award” from the auxiliary), Jack Monday, Catherine McCormack, Howard Clayton Jr., Norma Shiner, Jeannie Rivkin, Yolanda Walther-Meade, Ann Jones, Betty Alexander, Nina Prestgard, Maggie Mazur, Audrey Geisel, Fran Golden, Joanne Hutchinson, Linda Alessio, Marilyn Young, Marian Bourland and Junko Cushman.

LA JOLLA--Jane and John Murphy found themselves crowded out of their bedroom--if not quite their house--by the hundred or so people who dropped by to inspect a collection of paintings by Manhattan Beach artist Bill Perkins, an animator at Walt Disney Pictures and godfather of one of the Murphy grandchildren.

Jane Murphy had complained before the Friday reception that “nearly everyone” on the guest list had plans to be out of town, but she still managed to rope together a fair slice of old La Jolla for the exhibit of seascapes and watercolors. Among them were Jane and Lou Metzger, Sarah Burton, John Barbey, Carolyn and Art Hooper, Nancy Hester, Judith and Steven Smith, and Richard Cramer.

Artist Perkins said that the showing of about 30 paintings, many created on annual retreats to Catalina, was his first in three years. “It’s a really nice opportunity to show in La Jolla,” he said. “This is a very sophisticated audience.” Perkins’ appreciation of his audience was not diluted by the sale of several of his works.

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The guests took price lists with them on their wanderings through the house.

“I feel like a caravan is going through,” Jane Murphy said. “I didn’t know we’d have paintings and people in our bedroom. But I love the paintings, and I want them all!”

The guest list also included Elaine and Jim Triolo, Mary and Bob Allan, Kate and Glenn Kovary, Patrick Abarta, Ann and Chuck Montgomery, Dr. Willard VanderLaan, Barbara and Karl ZoBell, and Jim Bowers.


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