Community: Turning 100 is worth celebrating twice

Twice was nice when friends and family of Grace Mylroie Patz toasted her for turning 100 at two celebrations in December. She was born on Christmas Day in 1913 in San Diego.

Mylroie Patz received special recognition from Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy during a holiday party held by the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild at Lakeside Golf Club on Dec. 11.

Then on Dec. 29, some 200 guests gathered at Lakeside for a birthday luncheon hosted by Mylroie Patz's family and the Laureate Kappa Xi Sisters of Beta Sigma Phi.

“All I can say is, thank you, God, for all you wonderful friends, neighbors, relatives — you have made my life what it is today,” Mylroie Patz said. “I love you all dearly and may your life be as happy and as long as mine. God bless you all.”

Mylroie Patz's sons, Jim Mylroie and Gerry Mylroie, and their families attended Sunday's party as did her step-daughter, Bonnie McConnell, and her family. McConnell and her daughter, Jessica, made the centerpieces, which included framed pictures of Mylroie Patz and bouquets of Gerbera daisies, roses and Stargazer lilies in pink and white.

Granddaughter Lara Infuso read her grandmother's biography, touching on such highlights as Mylroie Patz becoming a member of Job's Daughters as a young woman and, while attending the University of Wyoming, joining Kappa Delta Sorority. Then in 1935, Grace joined Beta Sigma Phi and has remained a member for 78 years.

“While in school, she worked in the family's bakery and at the Albany National Bank for 25 cents an hour,” Infuso said. “She would actually cut sheets of money with scissors.”

Often asked what is her grandmother's secret to longevity, Infuso tells people good genes, luck and love and support of friends and family, but the true secret is what's up here, pointing to her head — determination, a zest for life and a positive attitude.

Mylroie Patz and her first husband, Robert Mylroie, started dating while they were attending the University of Wyoming. They married in 1938 and had sons Jim in 1940 and Gerry in 1945.

Robert Mylroie was called into service in 1940 in the Army Air Corps, stationed at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. He was transferred to Guam early in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was discharged later that year.

In August 1946, the family moved to Cheyenne, Wyo. Robert Mylroie was in a fatal car accident in September. Mylroie Patz moved with her two young sons to Burbank two months later to be with her sister. In 1953, she built her Burbank home where she continues to live.

She worked at Challenge-Cook Bros. Inc. as head of personnel in payroll from 1947 to 1967 and then was hired by Reynolds and Reynolds Data Processing. She retired from there in 1977. In 1973, May Hurtz introduced Mylroie Patz to her brother, Del Patz, and they married a year later.

One of Mylroie Patz's passions has been her volunteer work, said her granddaughter. She was the first president of the Gamma chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Laramie, Wyo. She became active in the San Fernando Valley chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in 1964, then transferred to the Laureate Kappa Xi chapter, Glendale Area Council in 1991 and is a past president of both.

In 2009, she received the Beta Sigma Phi's International Award of Distinction, its highest honor.

Kitty Lopez-Rice, president of the Beta Sigma Phi Glendale Area Council, is most impressed by Mylroie Patz's positive attitude and all she has accomplished in her later years.

“Grace was 90 when she became president of the Beta Sigma Phi Glendale Area Council,” Kitty said. “It is remarkable that a woman of that age has so much stamina.”

Mylroie Patz joined Zonta Club of Burbank Area in 1978 and remained a member for 10 years.

In 1986, Mylroie Patz joined the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild. Over the years, she has given more than 15,000 hours of service to guild projects. She has been president for two years as well as chairing many of the group’s activities, including the annual Spring Event.

She has also been parliamentarian and chaired the gift shop, card parties and by-law committees.

Julie McArdle joined the guild in 1992 and, she said, Mylroie Patz became her guardian angel, volunteering her for any and all committees.

“She even got me to be the Spring Event chair my second year in the guild,” McArdle said. “Us redheads stick together!”

McArdle said she is amazed by how sharp Mylroie Patz remains.

“She is handling 600 reservations for the guild's upcoming Spring Event and knows who to sit with whom,” she said. “Combine this with her phenomenal yoga abilities, and always looking like a million bucks, at the ripe young age of 100, is there any wonder why we call her ‘Amazing Grace’?”


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

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