Happy Birthday


If you’ve noticed that you have an additional six seconds crossing the street in Santa Monica, it’s because of this 95 years young activist who wouldn’t stop annoying the City until it was safe for seniors to cross. Much has been written about the Greatest Generation and the contributions they have made to our lives, and Elaine Yarus is a wonderful example: that young woman you see was fresh out of Adelphi College with a degree in psychology when she married, World War II broke out, and she found herself at the Presidio in San Francisco. There she battled the upper military echelons to protect and guard the rights of the Red Cross volunteers in her charge. It took a general – sometimes it takes a village! For decades Elaine has collected books for the women’s ward at the Westside Veterans Administration. When her husband, who was with the U.S. Army that liberated Buchenwald, suffered a massive stroke, Elaine sprang into action, and through the auspices of St. John’s Hospital and Santa Monica College Emeritus, she led a group of 50 stroke victims and their families for years. The spirit of that group is re-forming again, much to Elaine’s happiness. It was those early days, when she learned at age 11 to honor workers, profit-sharing and unionization from her business man father, that the woman was formed who is celebrating 22 years at Santa Monica Christian Towers, where she is constantly motivating generations and international residents. Like many of her generation, Elaine does not suffer fools, but her door is always open to share possibilities and provide an empathetic ear. Elaine Yarus represents the best in ecumenism. She also plays the best bridge in the surrounding area: she will tell you emphatically that she excels in No Trump! Happy birthday, beautiful lady; please don’t ever stop teaching us!


Susan Courtright

Santa Monica