Rose Wiley Celebrates 90 Years!

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin

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Rose Wiley Celebrates 90 Years!
Photos by Annemarie Donkin A birthday carrot cake was made especially for Rose.
More than 150 guests gathered at Ed O’Neill’s historic house on Old Canyon that was once a stop for the pony express mail drop, to celebrate the community’s much-beloved matriarch.
Rose’s eldest daughter, Marguerite Lally and her husband Patrick Lally, take a brief break with Rose. Marguerite created festive fall decorations and beautiful centerpieces for the tables.
The sun peeked out from heavy clouds just in time for Rose Wiley’s 90th birthday party on Sunday, Oct. 24. Sponsored and organized by the Topanga Historical Society and its archivist, Pablo Capra, it became a glorious day to fête the guest of honor.

Rose was joined at the event by her eldest daughter, Marguerite Lally, her husband, Patrick Lally and a granddaughter, Danielle Powell.

As is her fashion, Rose, whose actual birthday is Oct. 22, took everything in stride, saying she didn’t feel any older at all. She did, however, express much delight with the party, guests, food and entertainment. The event was also the Historical Society’s annual picnic, a post-pandemic reunion for the community, who delighted in seeing each other in person and sharing some much-needed hugs.

Joining Rose at the party were some of the coolest and most hardworking Topanga volunteers ever, including Gail McTune. Bill Buerge, Merrick Davidson, Kathleen Hernandez, Karen Moran, Dawn Moore, Geoff and Sarah Seelinger, Elaine Hanson, Rosi Dagit, the regal Marsha Maus (of course), Randi Johnson, Anne-Christine von Wetter, Karen Dannenbaum, and Catherine McClenahan.
Terry Marks-Tarlow, Ph.D., attended with her husband, Buz Tarlow, who shot video for the Historic Society.

Soon, the guests lined up for a hearty buffet of salads, spicy ranch beans, roast pork, roasted chicken and cornbread with honey, catered by Layne Sanden and his assistant, Lena Marie. A delectable carrot cake so laden with shredded carrots it almost seemed healthy, was made especially for Rose. That and a chorus of “Happy Birthday” highlighted the event.
Entertainment was provided by two lovely dancers, Leilani Cifuentes and Sariah Redondo, who are members of the Santa Monica Ballet Folklorico.

Henry Smith, who will be 90 in June, joined our table with his daughter, Wendy Skolfield. He recalled good times with Bob and Rose Wiley in the 1950s at the American Legion Hall in Topanga when drinks were 50 cents!

After the meal and birthday cake, there was plenty of time for the guests, who seemed reluctant to leave, to visit and reflect on life in Topanga.

“Rose is someone you always knew,” Karen Moran said. “If there was anything you ever needed to know about anyone or anything, just ask Rose!”
A beautiful carrot cake and a chorus of “Happy Birthday” highlighted the event as Rose with granddaughter Danielle Powell, enjoyed the moment. Caterer Layne Sanden cuts the cake in the background.
The event was also the Historical Society’s annual picnic, a post-pandemic reunion for the community, who delighted in seeing each other in person and sharing some much-needed hugs.
Folklorico dancers, Leilani Cifuentes and Sariah Redondo, performed two dances for Rose, (center) and host Ed O’Neill (front).
Folklorico dancers, Leilani Cifuentes and Sariah Redondo, performed two dances for Rose, (center) and host Ed O’Neill (front).
It wouldn’t be a party without Marsha Maus in attendance.
Merrick Davidson, founder of the Topanga Messenger, and Henry Smith shared some memories and laughs together. Henry turns 90 in June.
Randi Johnson and Anne-Christine von Wetter had some catching up to do.
Annemarie Donkin

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