'I'm not going to quit soon'

Three years of retirement — working around the house, painting and doing yardwork — was all Ralph Walroth, 94, could stand before he became restless.

“I wanted to keep my mind active, and I wanted to keep physically active,” Walroth said.

For the past 27 years, he has achieved his goal by working for Glendale Central Library.

In retirement from his 41-year career at Lockheed Martin, Walroth began volunteering at the Chevy Chase branch in 1981. After Proposition 13 passed, the branch closed, but with the help of volunteers like Walroth, it reopened.

Wanting to work more hours, Walroth became an employee of the central branch in 1983 and has worked there in a variety of positions since. For seven years he drove the library van, delivering books between branches. Today he is in charge of the paperback section, shelves books and does inter-library deliveries.

Having turned 94 on Jan. 17, Walroth is the city of Glendale's oldest employee. On Jan. 28, Glendale city employees held a birthday party for him at the Central Library.

The party included a breakfast, complete with waffles made by Assistant City Manager Bob McFall. About 30 people attended, Walroth said.

“They all seemed to like me — that made me feel good,” he said.

Only three or four people work at the library today who were there when he started, Walroth said.

Library access service administrator Nora Goldsmith is one of them, who described her co-worker as fun-loving, friendly, very social and a dedicated worker.

“He's been beneficial to us and a pleasure to have around,” she said.

Walroth is always on time, said his supervisor and the library's senior customer services representative, Henrik Dagbashyan.

Walroth enjoys working at the library because he gets to interact with people, and by working with books, he comes across interesting information, he said.

“All the sudden you come across a piece of information you can't believe,” he said. “It's interesting stuff, so I've enjoyed my time at the library a lot.”

In addition to being Glendale's oldest employee, Walroth is the longest-serving member of the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank — for 81 years. He is also the church's archivist.

Walroth also enjoys reading mystery novels and golfing. As a member of Chevy Chase Country Club, he has landed three hole-in-ones.

“I've had an interesting life — that's all there is to it,” said Walroth, who was born in 1916 in Omaha, Neb. He moved to Burbank in 1923, graduated from Burbank High School and Glendale College, and in 1974 settled in Glendale, where he lives with his wife of 45 years, Eileen.

He has four children with his first wife, 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren — the oldest of whom is 17.

“So I may live long enough to see a great-great-grandchild,” he said.

When Walroth began working at the library, he put in 20 hours a week. Now he works about 18 a month, yet shows no signs of stopping.

“If I feel like I do today, I'm not going to quit soon,” he said.


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