100th Birthday Celebrated With Pizza Party

It was a pizza party for the ages last week at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.
Wendy Hobson starred as friends and fellow bridge players gathered around on June 2 to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Born in Minnesota, raised in Palos Verdes, Hobson moved to La Cañada Flintridge in 1950. She’s lived on Hillard Avenue since then, according to daughter Gail, who joined the festivities.
On Thursday, Hobson was at ease over lunch, chatting with friends, answering reporters’ questions and enjoying a slice of pizza — her favorite food. The first few rounds of bridge that morning had been “so-so,” she said, but being there with so many friends was great.
She cut the first slice of cake, sipped some sparkling cider and delighted in the group’s rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
“She’s a tough Norwegian,” said Ed McDermott, the Bridge Club’s director. “She’s still independent. More power to her.”
Regular exercise has something to do with that. Hobson works out regularly with a personal trainer and walks up the hill behind her home. Formerly an actress whose job it was to play other people, she said the best advice she ever received was to “be yourself.”
Her friends have nicknamed her home “Mini Descanso,” because it features 70 camellia plants and almost as many azaleas. The descendant of a few generations of farmers, she said she’s always loved gardening.
And bridge? She’s been enjoying that, she said, since she was 17.
“Only 83 years,” her daughter joked.
McDermott, who is 83, picks Hobson up twice a week on the way to the four-hour sessions of bridge at the community center.
“Really, Ed’s a lifesaver,” Gail said. “If it weren’t for Ed, she wouldn’t be able to come.”
“And he makes me laugh every single time on our way to bridge,” Hobson said.
But the bridge itself is no joking matter, according to those familiar with the twice-weekly games.
“Oh, she wins some hands,” McDermott said.
Indeed, said Maureen Bond, the Community Center’s executive director: “She plays a good hand. She’s not here because it’s somewhere to take her; she’s serious.”
And so Hobson fits right in with a group of bridge players who live for the friendly competition.
“The bridge group, socially and mentally, it’s so good,” Gail said.
Life is good for Hobson: “I love my home and I love my yard and what I really like about La Cañada is obvious — the people! Everybody is so friendly and it’s a delight to live here.”

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