Friends and family honor life of 100-year-old Claremonter

Longtime Claremont resident Florence Gordon Webster celebrated her 100th birthday Saturday, May 17 at the Claremont Manor, where she currently resides.

Friends and family of the centenarion traveled from as far as Texas, Washington and Oregon to join in her birthday celebration. It was an event not to be missed.

The birthday brunch was an elegant affair for an equally elegant woman. Hosted by her children, Elizabeth Webster Haberman and husband, Paul, of Bend, Oregon; Lawrence Webster and partner, Caren Whiteside of Claremont; Gerald Webster and wife Sharie of Brea; and daughter-in-law, Judy Webster (wife of Gordon who died in 2003), of Tucson, Arizona.

Gorgeous flower arrangements and picture frames filled with vintage photos of Ms. Webster greeted 115 guests as they entered the beautifully decorated Manor Hall. As friends and family dined together on eggs, carved ham and birthday cake, they sipped mimosas and shared stories with one another about Ms. Webster’s life. A recent letter from the Today show’s Willard Scott, addressed to the “The Centenarian,” was a highlight of many discussions.

Reverend George Silides, Priest-in-Charge at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Claremont, offered a prayer in honor of the longtime parishioner and in celebration of an extraordinary life.

Ms. Webster, a second generation Californian, was born in San Rafael in 1914, but did most of her growing up in San Diego with her parents and sister Helen. She met her husband, Ralph, following graduation from San Diego State College, where she studied teaching. Mr. Webster, director of materials for General Dynamics in Pomona, moved the family to Claremont in 1953. He died in 1975.

Prior to moving to Claremont Manor in 2006, Ms. Webster lived in her house on Tenth Street, just west of Memorial Park. She was very active in civic activities, as a member of the Board of the American Red Cross, Claremont High School parent volunteers, St. Ambrose Episcopal Church and the PEO Sisterhood. She has been an avid participant in the arts as a potter, painter, knitter and writer. She recently self-published a book of short stories and poems she’d composed over the past 75 years, a keepsake to be cherished for generations to come.

Wearing a colorful sweater and bright smile, Ms. Webster was visibly thrilled to be in the company of her seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

When asked to what she attributes her longevity, Ms. Webster says she has so many people she loves and that they all love one another.

Her children jokingly say that it’s Ms. Webster’s innate ability to procrastinate that keeps her from moving on.

A very happy 100th birthday to you, Ms. Webster.

—Angela Bailey


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