DOWNEY – Longtime Downey resident Bessie V. Gonos celebrated her 100th birthday on June 24 among family and friends.
Gonos was born in Wyoming and moved to California when she was a young girl. She worked at the Southern Pacific Railroad as a secretary and eventually met her future husband, Jim Gonos, who was active in the Army in WWII.
She and Jim corresponded while he was stationed overseas, and were engaged when Jim arrived home after the war. They were married in 1947 and moved to Downey in 1950.
They had two children, James William and Georgia. She also has a son-in-law, Dean Ananias, who she considers a second son. Throughout her life she has been close to her sister-in-law, Bessie Gonos, sharing fond memories as well as the same name.
In her earlier years, Bessie was very active in the community. She was involved in the USO during WWII, PTA, YMCA, Daughters of Penelope, Philoptochos, Bluebird leader, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, sponsored the Downey Theatre, member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and a charter member of the Downey Emblem Club 309.
She enjoys traveling with her children and grandchildren Valerie, Debbie, and Cindy. In the last two years, she has become a great-grandmother to Jonathan James and Zane Williams.