By Emily Sorensen
After a lifetime of hard work, Poway resident Ida Buttarazzi celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, Sept. 20, in comfort and relaxation.
Born in Italy, Buttarazzi moved to New York with her husband when she was 20 years old, and has lived in the United States ever since. “I met him when he came to Italy to visit his mother,” said Buttarazzi.
A mother of four, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of eight, Buttarazzi has enjoyed a life of close family and love. Buttarazzi lives with her daughter, and said that one of her sons is a priest, living in San Salvador. “I’ve got a good family,” said Buttarazzi. “We like each other, we spend a lot of time with each other, visiting each other.”
She also worked hard. Buttarazzi worked for 20 years as a seamstress in a garment factory, and worked, alongside her son-in-law, for nearly 12 years at an electronics plant in California before retiring at the age of 67. Buttarazzi said that once, when a higher-up at her work was cruel to her, she tried to quit, but her boss begged her to stay. “I tried to go, but they said, ‘we need you,’” said Buttarazzi. She was moved to a different section of the plant, where she got to work with a friend and was given a raise. “I was a good worker, whether sewing or electronics,” she said.
For over 20 years, Buttarazzi has been volunteering at the Poway Senior Center, working in the kitchens cooking, setting up and clearing off tables, and helping in the bingo snack bar. “I did a lot of work on this place,” said Buttarazzi, who now limits her volunteering to playing ambassador to newcomers to the center, showing them around and greeting them at lunch. “They enjoy me.”
Buttarazzi is such a staple at the Poway Senior Center that the center even renamed the dining room, originally the Bella Bistro Room, to “Ida’s Bella Bistro,” in 2011. “I’ve been here a long time,” said Buttarazzi. “There have been a lot of changes over the years.” Buttarazzi said she enjoys keeping up with the others at the senior center over lunch. “You keep up on who’s still here, who’s moved,” said Buttarazzi.