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Twyla Sampson and her sister celebrate Twyla’s 100th birthday at Bella Sera amidst streamers, balloons, cards and an array of photographs. / Laura Austin Photo

Twyla Sampson celebrates 100th birthday


By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher  Twyla Dawn (Wolcott) Sampson celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday, September 1 at the Bella Sera Skilled Nursing Facility. Reaching the centenarian milestone is not commonplace and certainly a time of celebration. There are 5,921 centenarians in the State of California with this state having the largest number of any of the states. 

Twyla was born September 1, 1922 in Butler, PA. She is the second oldest of five children. She actually has an older brother, Jack Wolcott, of Tampa, FL who celebrated his 102nd birthday in July. It is said that he still mows his lawn.

Bella Sera’s dining room was decorated with Happy Birthday streamers, balloons, cards and an array of photographs of Twyla. 

Twyla spent some time in Guam while her late husband, Jack, was stationed there. She moved to the desert in the mid 1950’s. Her first job was as a waitress in the Midway Cafe. This is where she met her husband. She also spent some time working at China Lake. When asked what she liked best about this community, she said, “It’s the people.” She did talk about missing her best friend, Jo Peters, who passed away at the age of 107 on June 17, 2022. She fondly remembers their many lunches together at Kristy’s Family Restaurant. 

When asked what advice she would give from what she has learned during her life, she said, “Try to live a good life and help other people.”

Twyla was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Ridgecrest and attended regularly until COVID. She served as a Pink Lady at the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and was a member of Eastern Star for more than 50 years. She said one of her favorite childhood memories was the beautiful memory she had of her wonderful mother and father. She remarked, “My faith in God has given me such peace and joy during my life.” She said one of her favorite pastimes at Bella Sera is to sit in front of the big window and watch the birds in the bird aviary just outside. 

Twyla smiles as she says she feels fine. That is one characteristic you will notice, her beautiful smile