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Former Harvey Girl celebrating 104

Gretchen Hoffman

NORTHEAST GLENDALE -- When Clara Raymond was 17, she left her family’s

Colorado homestead ranch to work in the restaurants along the Santa Fe

Railroad as a Harvey Girl.


Raymond, a former Glendale resident who turns 104 on Monday,

celebrated her birthday on Friday at Glendale Adventist Medical Center,

where she is recovering from hip replacement surgery.

Raymond was one of thousands of young, single women who were recruited


as waitresses at Fred Harvey’s trackside lunch counters at a time when

there were few women in the West. They were chaperoned and barred from

makeup and jewelry, but in exchange they received room and board,

railroad passes and job security.

“They wanted to come out to get a job, to see the neighborhood,”

Raymond said.

That independent spirit has followed her throughout her life, family

members say.


“She has always been a strong, independent woman,” granddaughter Kathy

Fox said.

Raymond walked to the store with her shopping cart until she was 98,

Fox said. After her husband died in 1963, she lived alone until she moved

in with her daughter, Pat Bacon, and Pat’s husband Jerry, when she was


Raymond comes from a long line of healthy genes. Her mother lived

until she was 98, and two of her brothers lived into their 90s. It’s only


the third surgery of her life, and the first two were minor, hospital

officials said.

“She’s in very good health, both physically and mentally,” said Carlo

Orlando, who performed the surgery on her hip. “Better than most patients

at 84. It’s amazing.”

Raymond says she doesn’t feel her age until she sees how old her

children are, Pat Bacon said.

Raymond has three children, the oldest of whom is her son Jim, 73. She

also has 10 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

“She’s good-natured, and she has a great sense of humor,” Pat Bacon


Raymond, who moved to Southern California in 1941 with her husband,

who “came here to get rich,” she said.

“Glendale -- there was no Glendale,” she said. “It was just a city

spread all over. Glendale’s become quite a popular city.”

“I lived during the time when everything was new and we didn’t have

anything,” Raymond said. “We had to do all of our work by hand. Now, it’s

much easier.”