The Valley Line: La Cañadan celebrates 90 years

Mijares Mexican restaurant in Pasadena was the setting for a fun-filled gathering of family and friends for longtime La Cañadan Hal Thomas’ 90th birthday celebration.

Hal's daughter-in-law Heather Thomas was the party planner as guests enjoyed delicious chicken tostadas with all the fixings, cheese enchiladas, and traditional refried beans and rice. The food was surrounded by balloons and picture boards collected from Hal’s childhood in Hollywood during the war years and during his family days in La Cañada with his wife Julia raising four kids.

The room was filled with love when they came together to honor Hal, who loves to tell his war stories centering on the days when he was a B-17 pilot.

His birthday cake highlighted one of his favorite stories from his crew’s humanitarian mission bringing food aid to Holland just days after the war ended. As their squadron flew over the town of Utrecht, Holland, at 300 feet, the local townsfolk had written “Thank You, Boys” on the hillside in fresh tulips. Hal said that when they saw that, there wasn’t a dry eye in the plane. The cake also held a replica B-17 Flying Fortress.

In attendance to help with the celebration were family members from the Millikan-Thomas and DeGrey clans. Wishing him a very happy birthday were Hal’s son Bruce and his wife Julie; son Rick, his wife Heather and their children, Marian, Phillip and David Thomas; Hal’s daughter Erin Thomas, Barbara Millikan Jones, Gary and Cathy Millikan, Rich and Lien DeGrey, Stephen and Dawn DeGrey and their son, Samuel.

La Cañada friends of the family included Harriet Hammons, John Hammons, Otis and Pat Hutchins, Dorothy Maddux, Irene Menton, Bob and Carol Kemmerer, Bill and Fran Evans, Bob and Bev Frame, Greg Frame, Jeff Frame, Bob Swanson, Bob Ford, Shirley Henn, Sheldon White, David and Lisa Smythe, Charles Morse, Marina Montoya and Don Mazen. It was a time of catching up with old friends, family and a true celebration of 90 years lived well!

No one enjoyed this party more than the man of the hour himself, Hal — a jolly good fellow, indeed.

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