Happy Birthday

WWII veteran celebrates his 90th with family, friends

Janice Laine

LW contributor


Benjamin Naples, Mutual 2, celebrated his 90th birthday with over 50 family members and friends in Clubhouse 1 on Dec. 1.

Being a true Italian, Ben is, of course, a connoisseur of meat balls and spaghetti, and no one can make this dish better, so, to everyone’s delight, he made his special recipe for his party.

Ben is a WWII veteran who was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He says when he charged out of his foxhole, gun a blazing, he was met with a row of German tanks firing back at him. He was hit in the back and in the thigh. A medic came by to check him and told him he was bleeding profusely so not to move until a stretcher could be brought up. Ben didn’t think that was a good idea and took off to go find the stretcher himself. He rolled, ran and ducked until he blacked out.

He woke up in an army hospital not knowing how he got there. After recuperating for two months, the nurse told him to get out of bed and report to his squadron. Since he was still full of shrapnel that couldn’t be removed, Ben thought that he’d be able to finish out his tour of duty in an easy job. Instead they put him right back on an air glider that landed him in the middle of more fighting. Fortunately, Ben managed to duck all the incoming fire this time and came home raring to start a family.  

Back home, he married his sweetheart Mary and had four children; Joanne, Paul, and twins Beverly and Benjamin, Jr. He worked as a manager in a surplus supply store, then opened his own surplus store and finally went to work as a manager for Sherwin Williams Paint.

With his asthma acting up, he asked to be transferred to Las Vegas where the air was better. It was there that he and his wife bought a home where he used his carpentry skills to build an extra room. They lived there 42 years until Mary passed away.

Ben moved to Leisure World last year to be near his doctors at the veterans hospital, but he still drives to Las Vegas regularly to see his family.


Photo: HAPPY BIRTHDAY— Bill McCoy, Mutual 4, celebrated his 88th birthday with his daughter Debbie Wright, visiting from Indiana. Bill was born Dec. 12, 1925, in Osgood, Ind.



Women knit, crochet 100s of items

Kay Matthews, Mutual 2, spent a lot of her time knitting 100 scarves this past year, which will be given to the homeless in the Long Beach area over the holidays.

Kay belongs to a group of ladies who knit and crochet on Tuesday mornings from 9-11 in the Clubhouse 4, Ceramics Room. Sherie Vanek, Mutual 1, met Kay at the group. The women gave Sherie advice and assistance over the last several months, and now she has crocheted about 100 caps.

Some of the ladies make and donate blankets to the VA Hospital and others knit infant caps for children at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

Those interested in knitting and crocheting are invited to visit the group and discover their talents.

A special thanks to the women in LW who donated yarn earlier in the year for this project. If anyone wants to donate yarn for future projects, contact Kay, 598-1079.She will pick it up.

Kay is a friend of Hearts and Hands United in Giving (HHUG), a non-profit organization that gives knitted and crocheted scarves over the holiday season to the homeless as well as donates knitted and crocheted infant and children’s caps and baby blankets during the year to families in need.

Visit to learn more about this organization.


Photo: Mission accomplished—Unda Villanuevea (left), niece of FALW President Ren Villanueva, hand-delivered Leisure World contributions for victims of Typhoon Haiyan to Sagip Kapamilya in the Philippines, and “they were all very grateful for the contribution.”


Nikkei Club

Oshogatsu will be celebrated

The Nikkei Club is gathering today, Dec. 12, at 11:30 a.m. to kick off the holiday season with its annual Christmas luncheon. Members are getting together at the Seafood Palace Restaurant, 6731 Westminster Blvd.

The Nikkei Club is organizing a new event on Jan. 1, to celebrate “Oshogatsu,” Japanese New Year.

This is usually the big event in Japan, so members thought it would be nice to have a get together, especially for members who do not have families close by.

Those with ideas and who would like to participate are welcome to offer their input to make this a happy and festive day. The club has reserved a large room, Clubhouse 3, Room 2, for the event.

Those with questions are invited to call Vic Kambe, 296-8237.


Silver Moments

Anna Derby is radio show guest today

Leisure World resident Anna Derby will be Marcia Baltimore’s guest on the Silver Moments Radio Show, Thursday, Dec. 12, at 10 a.m. Anna will talk about the Sunshine Club.

Radio host Marcia Baltimore, Mutual 1 resident, broadcasts a live show for seniors between 10-11 a.m. from Leisure World. Silver Moments can be heard Thursdays on CRN radio station, on the Internet or on IHEART Internet Radio.

Call-ins are are taken during the show at (800) 336-2225.

LWers are also invited to suggest topics for Marcia. She can be reached at


Spanish Club

Meeting set for reorganization

Dan Van Gelder and Amy Walker will have a meeting Thursday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m, in the Clubhouse 3, Room 5, for those interested in reorganizingthe Spanish Club.

Everyone interested in offering improvements to the club are welcome to attend the meeting.


Photo: TOUCH OF DUTCH will meet tonight, Dec. 12, at 7 in Clubhouse 3, Room 2, to celebrate Christmas and “Sinterklaas,” reminiscent of the Dutch custom with music and songs.



Holiday party set

The Vietnamese-American Club will have its Christmas party on Saturday, Dec. 14. The doors of Clubhouse 3, Room 1 will open at 5. A catered dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

Entertainment and Christmas carols will follow the meal.