Feb. 22, 1909 – May 14, 2015
Mary Alice Ayling passed away on Thursday, May 14 at the age of 106.
Mary was born at home on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, 1909 to Melvin and Alice Gulick. She went to Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles and graduated in 1929. After high school she took a course in millinery and received her diploma from Wiggins Trade School. Mary was then hired at Bullocks Wilshire before it opened on Sept. 26, 1929. She sewed by hand the “Bullocks Wilshire” label in all of the hats. After the opening, Mary worked in the Children’s Department fitting hats on the small heads of children. She also did some modeling for Bullocks.
Growing up in Los Angeles you walked or rode the street cars. There were boat rides in Westlake Park; a stop at C.C. Browns for a chocolate sundae or a cone. Saturday nights saw a lovely dance place with a small band. To get to the Hollywood Bowl it took several street cars and a hike up the hill to see the Easter Sunrise Service. In the summer it was a trip to the beach after church. Mary often wore her bathing suit under her church dress.
Her aunt picked up Mary and their grandmother in a car that was so small that Mary had to stick her legs outside on the running board.
Years passed and Mary found her dream job: A place in La Cañada with three initials (JPL). Mary was so proud to have worked 21 years for JPL and to be a part of the space program.
Mary loved the family gatherings celebrating birthdays and holidays. Mary loved her cute home filled with family heirlooms and working in her garden. Mary was a beautiful seamstress and made her own clothes from the age of 12.
Mary attributed her longevity to eating healthy and exercise. Mary was a walker in the hills of La Crescenta. This was a social walk, visiting with neighbors and making new friendships. Mary was known to stop at a yard sale or two. Mary was a longtime member of the Church of the Lighted Window (not the La Cañada Congregational Church). She enjoyed the Woman’s Guild, potlucks, Bible study and being with friends. Mary had a part in making a quilt for the 100-year anniversary for the church of the Lighted Window. The quilt hangs in the Fellowship Hall for all to enjoy.
Mary was an active member of the Leisure Club of La Cañada. Mary served on the board, was a greeter at the door and enjoyed the day trips. Mary is lovingly remembered by daughter Mary Alice; three grandchildren, Elizabeth, Dale (Teresa) and Darryl (Sheila); seven great-grandchildren, Erik, Isabella, Jeremiah and Valentino.
Mary’s family would like to extend its gratitude to all the staff at Mountview Retirement for their loving care.