Ruby Clawson has lived through change that most people only read about in history books. To celebrate her rare achievement a 109th birthday celebration was held in her honor on July 15 at Emeritus at Carmel Valley, a continuing care community.
A former 30-year Solana Beach resident, Clawson has lived at Emeritus since 2004 — but she lived on her own in her home until she was 103.
For her birthday, Ruby dressed in a pretty purple blouse, her feet in fuzzy polka dot socks propped up on a pillow. She sipped a glass of red wine and ate birthday cake as the Sundance Band played favorites such as Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust."
Ruby said she was enjoying her party and blew out the "1-0-9" candles on her cake with the help of longtime friend Edie Harrison and her granddaughter, the little girl bringing a smile to Ruby's face.
"I feel fine," said Ruby, who uses a wheelchair and has some trouble with her eyesight.
Born Ruby Robinson in Rogers, Ark., in 1901, Ruby enjoyed growing up alongside her two sisters. One of the unique accomplishments of Ruby's life was being crowned queen of the Arkansas Apple Blossom Festival. A slide show showed off photographs of a pretty, smiling 22-year-old Ruby surrounded by flowers and a crowd of admirers.
Ruby started working for an insurance company where she "fell madly in love" with Cecil Clawson, an executive at a utility company. The couple married when Ruby was 24 — they never had children but their marriage lasted five decades until Cecil's death. The pair enjoyed living together in Missouri and Arizona before moving to Solana Beach in the 1970s.
During World War II, Ruby worked as a volunteer with the Red Cross. President Harry S. Truman awarded her a special certificate for her contributions.
Ruby's friend, Edie Harrison, noted that Ruby has said the key to her longevity has been a life of moderation. Ruby's great hobbies were playing bridge, gardening and reading. A big sports fan, she loves the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Diego Padres — Tony Gwynn, especially, was her favorite player.
For her birthday, both the Lakers and the Padres organizations sent gifts. The Lakers sent a framed team photo and a championship pin. The Padres gave Ruby a jersey, a floppy Padres hat and a pennant to hang in her room.
Del Mar Florals, Pizza Hut of Mira Mesa and A Piece of Cake also made donations for the party.