Over the Hill

100 years in the life of a Paso Roblan

Like many girls, Dolly Bader of Paso Robles got two Christmas dolls. But, unlike many girls, she received hers more than 90 years ago and still has them.

Dolly didn’t get both dolls on the same Christmas. In those days Santa left only one per Christmas. But she got both of them before she was 10.

She named one May Belle and the other Ona Belle. May Belle is missing a tooth. Dolly fed her dolls real food. Then she cleaned their mouths with a little brush and toothpick, and one day she broke the tooth.

On this past Oct. 4, Dolly Bader and hundreds of her friends celebrated her 100th birthday in the Paso Robles Inn ballroom.

Dolly was born to Ramon Barba and Cornelia Hazel Barba in Creston, with the help of a Mrs. Wells. It was Mrs. Wells who named her Dolly. Dolly’s father raised grain and cattle.

She traces her ancestry back to Jose Francisco Ortega. In 1769 Ortega served under Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra on the first land expedition by Europeans into what is now California.

Dolly’s family moved to Paso Robles when she was a sophomore at Paso Robles High School. After graduation, she completed a secretarial and bookkeeping course at San Jose Business Collage.

In 1931 she joined the Paso Robles branch of Business and Professional Women. She went on to be local president, coastal chairman and then, in 1982, an honorary member.

Dolly married Bill Bader in 1932. They operated a wholesale/retail poultry and egg business from 1937 to 1962. They also raised quarter horses on their ranch on Oak Flat road. Dolly has two daughters, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

During World War II she was a member of the Red Cross Motor Corps and a Civil Defense airplane spotter. She was also president of the Camp Roberts District U.S.O. Council and a leader in transporting busloads of local young women to Camp Roberts for dances.

Dolly served on the Paso Robles School Board for 12 years and later worked 12 years as the schools’ accounting clerk supervisor.

Dolly and her late husband were among the 22 families who donated $1,000 each as seed money to bring what is now the Mid-State Fair to Paso Robles in 1946. She also supervised the fair’s floriculture division for 25 years.

If Paso Robles is the self-reliant, successful, friendly place I think it is, it’s because of people like Dolly Bader.

Reach Phil Dirkx at phild2008@sbcglobal.net or 238-2372.