Dorothy Wiesendanger

Dorothy Wiesendanger eating birthday cake on her 107th birthday.

Wiesendanger was days away from her 110th birthday when she passed away on Monday at a residential care facility.

She almost made it.

Today (Thursday, May 7) would have been the 110th birthday of Dorothy Wiesendanger and the achievement would have been recognized atop this column.

However, it is sad to note that she died early Monday at a residential care facility on Patterson’s west side where she had been a patient the past few months. She may well have been California’s if not the country’s oldest resident.

Until a few months ago Dorothy lived with her son, Burt Wiesendanger, far up del Puerto Canyon and over into the San Antonio Valley in Santa Clara County. I visited her there three years ago on her 107th birthday and was privileged to share in her birthday cake.

At that time she was still spry and up and around every day, even making her own bed. Using a walker, she got around the house by herself despite failing eyesight and with hearing issues.

And when I took her picture, she smiled and commented, “The paper won’t sell.”

Born in Idaho in 1910, one of three girls in the family that soon moved to Stockton, she married William “Bill” Wiesendanger when she was 19 and raised three sons. They lived in the San Jose-Santa Clara area when they grew a variety of fruit crops including apricots and pears.

She also worked as a nurse’s assistant at Connors Hospital in San Jose for 18 years. Her husband died in 1970.

And she came so close to living 110 years.


Let’s put another name on our list of 90-plussers.

That would be Corina Azevedo who turns the magic number today, May 7. She’s been a local resident for 46 years.

So, happy birthday, Corina.


You may not have noticed, but the Parade magazine insert totally disappeared from last Sunday’s daily newspapers. The previous week it was so thin the front and back pages nearly touched.


If you’ve been obeying the stay-at-home directive, then you may already have joined me in this activity:

Reading the local phone book. Plenty of interesting family names, plus a few streets I didn’t know existed.

But the Frontier Communications book annually continues to decrease in size as cell phone usage proliferates. You can easily get through the book in an afternoon.


Our welfare check from the federal government finally arrived last week, and I was asked if I was going to use it to purchase my first cell phone.

To which I answered, “No way, Jose!”

My No Cell Club members may be dwindling in number (Stanislaus County estimate is under a dozen), but we are a hearty lot who will battle to the end.


Our Persons of Maturity surely remember several decades back when roller skating on our streets and sidewalks was a major pastime for family members including adults.

Personally, I never tried it, for I grew up falling down enough times while ice skating.


If newspapers are in economic need of laying off staff during our pandemic, I suggest they start in the sports department which has little to do these days.


This question arrived by email:

“Is anyone else’s car getting three weeks to the gallon at the moment?”

I can’t remember the last time I filled up.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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