Two Turning 90 in the Palisades Share Their Memories of Early Years

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

Originally from Oceanside, California, Thomas Weese moved to Pacific Palisades in the early 1960s and was on the opening faculty of Palisades High School as an electronics and mathematics teacher. Weese went on to open an educational electronics kit business serving schools. Later he explored the property development and management world, which he continues today.

He has two daughters from his first marriage: Marjory and Loralee, who studied at UCLA and play the violin and cello. He was married to Jennie Pastoria Weese for 20 years, a former president of Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club. They sailed to most of the Channel Islands and traveled to many countries. She passed in 2012.

Asked by the Palisadian-Post what he enjoys most about the neighborhood, Weese was bubbly with enthusiasm. “The people are easy to talk with, many of them are on the entrepreneurial side so there’s a lot in common there.” One of his other joys is the Post itself. “I’m probably one of your oldest customers!” Weese quipped. “Early on I had articles in there about the electronics classes I had at Pali.”

Approaching 90 years old, Weese humorously admitted that the local drugstore is important among his local haunts. He shops at Ralphs and Gelson’s supermarkets, and stays up to date with community developments, including the Caruso project. “I enjoy seeing it come along. It was nice the way it was, but things change, times change.” Weese also attends the homeless outreach program. “It’s a great operation and an important issue for everyone.” He is active in the Pacific Palisades Amateur Radio Emergency Network.

Putting us all to shame, Weese maintains an active lifestyle that includes sailing with the Fairwind club, riding his bike and going to church on the weekends. He also loves attending dances at the American Legion with his new companion Karen. “Life goes on. You can’t just sit around. We all have to keep our minds sharp.” Truer words were never spoken.

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

Australian-born Gerry Watkins, 90, was a senior trade commissioner in Australia during his adult life. His consulate work allowed him to travel all over the world, including Mexico, Central America and Cuba. He left his family behind and headed for the states where he met his future wife Barbara, or Bobie, and married her in September 1988. The pair settled in Pacific Palisades in 1990 and have lived here ever since.

Now retired, Watkins spends his time as a coordinator for PLATO society of Los Angeles, an organization that holds peer-led discussion about anything you can think of to keep the mind active. “The goal is to give people in retirement an opportunity to engage in discussion,” Watkins said.

Now more than ever, Watkins is enjoying his freedom, purposefully avoiding being tied down by house pets. He travels back home to see his two sons and five grandkids at least once per year and plans to carry out the rest of his time in the Palisades.

When asked what he thinks has changed the most over his 28 years in the area, Watkins said, “Without a doubt, traffic has gotten much worse.”