One was involved in local civic government serving on multiple commissions and as a two-term mayor while the other was a longtime principal at the junior high in the days before it became a middle school.
Bob Joe and Granville Thurman, respectively, made their mark over the years, and continue to give back to a city that has deeply impacted their lives.
Both continue to be a big part of the community, Joe notably supporting the Institute for Redesign of Learning, which provides care for special needs students, and Holy Family Church, always helping individuals in a variety of ways, while Thurman has long supported the town’s Oneonta Club, which features speakers from various professions at its monthly dinners and provides annual scholarships to deserving South Pasadena High graduates each spring.
The pair were honored with the Champion Award last Monday night during a reception hosted by the Senior Citizens’ Foundation of South Pasadena.
Alexandria Levitt, the treasurer of the Foundation introduced Joe while the organization’s president, Bill Cullinane, introduced Thurman inside the city’s Senior Center.
“This recognition is not about me,” said Joe, following the event. “It is about three key groups of people that make South Pasadena Senior Program vibrant, active, and a source of joy. The first group is a caring senior center staff that puts the senior first. The second group are the senior volunteers who give of themselves to help others. And the third group is a Senior Foundation that is strong and has board members that are the fabric of the community.”
Thurman, just as touched by the award, added: “After 86 years living in South Pasadena and having been supported by so many wonderful organizations like the South Pasadena Police Department, the Fire Department and the Senior Foundation, it was a wonderful opportunity. Our Senior Citizens Foundation and the Senior Center are among the most influential groups that give purpose, strength and meaning to the South Pasadena community – ‘the little city with the big heart.’ We thank them for the special event and ask you to join me in supporting their activities in the future.”
Among those in attendance were David Mgrublian and his sister Alice, who have been big donors to the Foundation in recent years. “With those funds we have been able to start the Harold and Alice Mgrublian Endowment for the benefit of the South Pasadena Senior Center,” explained Cullinane.
David Mgrublian spoke briefly about what the Senior Center has meant to he and his sister and their parents while Mark Langill, vice-president of the Foundation and professionally the Los Angeles Dodgers’ historian, remarked on why the Senior Center matters.
Dominick Correy, district representative for State Senator Anthony Portantino, presented certificates to Joe and Granville, commending them for their service and assisting others.
“The purpose of the event besides honoring two outstanding citizens was to raise awareness and profile of the Senior Citizen Foundation,” said Cullinane. “People in attendance showed their support for these two outstanding gentlemen while learning about the Foundation and the support it provides to our seniors.”
The Foundation, noted Cullinane, was created for the sole purpose of monetarily supporting the South Pasadena Senior Center. “The city budget does not support all of the needs of the Senior Center and much of the programming and infrastructure upgrades are funded by the Foundation. An example of the type of needs the Foundation supports would be the replacement of all the computers at the Senior Center which are relied upon by some of our residents.”
Recognizing its place in the hearts of many, Cullinane added the Senior Center is “one of the gems of our city and means so much to our seniors in the area. Support of the Foundation is critical in keeping the Senior Center vibrant and active into the future.”
Italian sparkling wine was poured and a charcuterie box from the Bacchus Restaurant in Pasadena was provided to guests.