Ramona Apodaca turns 99

Decades of walking, thousands of handmade tortillas and a positive outlook have kept Downey resident Ramona Apodaca active her entire life – even as she celebrates her 99th birthday. Born in Mesilla, New Mexico on Aug. 31, 1915, Ramona celebrates her 99th birthday as a proud Downey resident, and will celebrate the milestone day with her closest family members. Ramona and her late-husband, Lorenzo, first moved to California in 1943, after Lorenzo began working for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach during World War II. Ramona worked for 25 years at a local factory before retiring.An avid walker her entire life, Ramona’s independent spirit kept her constantly moving, whether it was to the grocery store, the bank or to the hair salon. Even recently, she sought joy in walking to the nearby Calvary Chapel bookstore, proving that at 99, nothing was going to keep her from enjoying a casual stroll.

“She has been more active ever since she retired,” said grandson Raymond Apodaca. “Her daily regimen includes cooking, cleaning, doing her laundry and tending to her garden. As if that weren’t enough, she has always walked through the city – up and down the streets, through the parks and always made friends with the neighbors along the way. She has been more active since she retired, but has yet to be tired.”

Ramona and Lorenzo raised their three children in neighboring Los Angeles cities before calling Downey home for the last 20 years. Two of her grandchildren, Raymond and Matthew Apodaca, attended neighboring schools St. John Bosco and Pius X. Her great-grandchildren, Matthew, Joseph and David Apodaca, are graduates of Downey High School.

In addition to her love of walking and being active, Ramona grew to be famous among family and friends for many of her traditional Mexican dishes, all of which she would make from scratch. Her specialty: handmade tortillas.

In her 99 years, Ramona has lived through 15 presidential administrations (from Harding to Obama), nine popes and several historical milestones, including the great depression, both World Wars and the civil rights movement. Looking ahead to her next milestone, her family is already in full preparation for her centennial celebration in 2015.

Happy birthday, Ramona, and cheers to many more!



Published: Aug. 28, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 20