Senior in Focus: Olga Grondalski
by Doug Kaya
Mar 28, 2010 | 2872 views | 2 2 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Olga Lachowitz was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 10th, 1914. Her parents emigrated from Russia for religious freedom. Her father worked in a vegetable store and her mother raised six children. Growing up, Olga remembers a “gadget” in which her parents inserted a quarter, giving them a day’s worth of electricity. Unfortunately, her father passed away when he was just 30 years of age. Her mother never remarried and in spite of being poor, was able to keep the family together. Olga was always “large” for her age and she remembers helping her mom with daily chores and raising her siblings. She was only able to attend one year of high school before quitting to help her mother full-time.

She met Walter Grondalski in 1945 and after a short courtship, they married in 1948 and moved to California where they raised two sons. Olga worked at a defense plant and as a waitress. Walter was a glazier and owned a glass store in Dublin, CA. Her fondest memory of Walter is how he always tried to give her the things she never had. Sadly, Walter passed away in 1969.

Olga has been a member of the Pleasant Hill Senior Center for over 25 years and is their eldest volunteer. She stopped driving 3 years ago but still gets up early to ride the County Link bus to arrive at PHSC 5-days a week to work in the CC Café. Peek in the kitchen and odds are, you’ll see her smiling face as she helps serve lunch. She has volunteered with the Pancake Breakfast and Boutique Club as well.

She was an original member of the Pathfinders (walking) Group and vividly remembers the day when former supervisor, Nancy Whaley, suggested the formation of the group.

Her favorite leisure activities are her life-long love of reading, crocheting and knitting. She takes great pride in whipping up a batch of Latkes (Jewish Potato Pancakes) with applesauce or sour cream for herself and a neighbor.

Her greatest regret is not receiving a better education and in her youth, she wished she were a little smaller in stature. She attributes her longevity to a desire to “make up for her deceased relatives”.

Well Olga, rich or poor, large or petite, college-educated or not, our community and especially PHSC, takes great pride and gratitude in knowing you.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 09, 2013
I recently found out that Olga passed on to a better place yesterday 5/8/2013. She was a dear family friend who will be missed at all our family gatherings. She was a strong, kind and generous woman.
June 06, 2013
You were so fortunate to have known her. I'm sorry for your loss.