Open House


A few months ago, we asked readers to send us the names of Westerners who, like Sunset Magazine, were born in 1898 and are celebrating their 100th birthdays this year. We thank them for nominating the 12 centenarians Sunset honors here. As we reviewed their biographies, we pondered the secret of their longevity. One clue seems to be activity: several enjoy gardening, one makes his own wine, and one goes dancing on Saturday nights. The West is richer for them all. Emma Gertrude McMillan

Known to everyone simply as G, she still lives in Seattle, where she was born on the present site of Pike Place Market. The gifts she gives us all are her honesty, pluck, determination, and unconditional love. One of my most vivid memories is of her attempt at teaching me not to play with matches: she set me on the beach with a box of 500 wooden matches and made me sit there till they were all burned. I loved every minute of it. Susan J. Patterson (grandniece) REDMOND, WASHINGTON Ferdinando Di Bernardo

He emigrated from Italy to the U.S. before World War II and now resides in San Pedro, California. A retired fisherman, he makes his own wine every season, and raises vegetables in the backyard of the home he built nearly 50 years ago. He has 9 children, 21 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren. Vanessa De Luca (granddaughter) SAN PEDRO, CALIFORNIA Ruth Fussel Werth

A San Franciscan by birth, she has lived for the past 46 years in Bakersfield, California, which is also celebrating its centennial in 1998. She loved horses as a young girl and rode around on one at the age of 98. Today she works in her yard, takes walks, and loves jigsaw puzzles. Bea Page (daughter) BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA Mary Martin Ebert

Only two months after her birth in lowa, her mother carried her by train and covered wagon to Cody, Wyoming, where she now resides. In 1912, she made her first trip into Yellowstone on horseback. "The horses traveled at a leisurely walk," she recalls. "At Canyon we watched the bear feeding. We treated them with respect ... and they left us alone." After training at the University of Wyoming, she was the only teacher at the Irma Flat one-room school (grades one through eight) for seven years. Jeannie Cook (curator) and Lynn J. Houze (assistant curator), Park County Historical Society CODY, WYOMING Nellie L. Woodward

Her wheat-farming family moved from Hastings, Nebraska, to Iowa, then to North Dakota. She taught in a one-room school there before attending the University of Montana, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1929. She went on to graduate study in psychiatric therapy at the University of Chicago. In 1940, she moved to San Francisco to develop one of the first family counseling services, and during the '40s, she directed the placement of 1,000 children in foster homes around Northern California. She now resides in Sonoma. How does she get around? "I drove until I was 95-I decided that was long enough. Now I walk." Alexander R. Bartley and Selma I. Starns (friends) CORVALLIS, OREGON Anna Corradin Pizzato

In 1921 she emigrated from Lusiana, Italy, to the United States, passing through Ellis Island en route to Sterling, Colorado, where she lived on a farm with her husband, John, a coal miner. She now resides in Rock Springs, Wyoming. She enjoys a glass of red wine nearly every day, and always has a story or a joke accompanied by a hearty laugh. …

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