Amere 100 years old wasn’t enough to wear the crown as the oldest person at this year’s luncheon honoring the town’s 90-and-over residents. Neither was 101 or 102. The oldest attendee was Paul Weitzman, 103, a retired pharmacist who moved to Atria Park on Sunset about six years ago.
One of the honorees, June Capp, 102, has lived in the same house on Toyopa since 1954. “We had Walther Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Ted Knight, Mel Brooks, Jane Powell and Nat Ross (first violinist in the L.A. Philharmonic) living on our street,” said Capp, who raised three children with her late husband, Jack.
The party’s other 102-year-old was John Danley, who moved here with his wife Shirley in 1954. He worked for Merle Norman Cosmetics and when Santa Monica celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1950, he co-chaired the world’s largest square dance, which was attended by then-Gov. Earl Warren, actor Leo Carrillo and about 15,000 dancers.
Sylvia Wu, who represented the town’s 101-year-olds, once owned Madame Wu’s Garden, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Santa Monica. She announced that she would like developer Rick Caruso to give her space for a new restaurant in his development. The 100-year-olds on hand included Mary Bird from Atria Park and George Mitchell, a former American Airlines pilot who has lived in the Riviera neighborhood since 1966. Mitchell received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2014 for his work with the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. Chaired by Fay Vahdani (owner of Luxe Home Healthcare), the free event included lunch, music by pianist Marie Captain, songs by the Oceanaires, trivia questions and prizes, and a keynote talk by Bill Bruns, advisor to the Palisades News. Every table had a birthday cake and each guest received party favors.
“This tradition started in 1996 in Dr. Margaret Jones-Kanaar’s backyard on Via de la Paz,” said Bruns, who was editor of the Palisadian-Post at the time. “She was celebrating her 92nd birthday and she wanted to have a big party for fellow 90-year-olds. Honorary Mayor Eddie Albert came. Margaret hosted the lunch until 1999, when the Junior Women’s Club stepped forward.”
During his remarks, Bruns praised the longevity of numerous married couples in attendance, especially Herman and Josephine Moonves (January 1943), Irvin and Sonia Lirman (February 1943), Blanche and Reuben Rosloff (January 1944) and Hal and Beverly Vieau (July 1945).
Eateries that donated food to the luncheon included Casa Nostra Ristorante, Vittorio’s Ristorante, Matthew’s Garden, Café Vida, Pinocchio in Cucina and The Yogurt Shoppe. Individual supporters included Joanna Curtis, Nancy Niles, Scott Schaffer, Haldis Toppel, Robin Weitz, Julia Winter and Ron Vinje. Business contributors were Luxe Home Healthcare, Atria Park, Dr. Nasreen Babu-Khan, C.H.E.A.R. Physical Therapy, Bellagio Nails, Vivian’s Boutique, Michael Solum/Farmer’s Insurance, American Legion Post 283 and Balloon Celebrations.
By Sue Pascoe
Photos by Shelby Pascoe