Mary Beth Doss surprises everyone with her birthday on Saturday

Mary Beth Doss visited the home of her senior gymnast in Rancho Bernardo on Monday and thought it would just be another class reunion.

But Doss surprised him with his 97th birthday party, one of the last days he was thrown.

In keeping with the party’s true purpose, the Feeling Fit members went to Poway right after school on Monday morning. Doss’ arrival was delayed by his son Joel Doss III, who was conveniently parked on the street.

Dozens of people gathered in the living room to say “Happy Birthday” when the friend entered the room.

After initially surprising her with loud cheers and singing “Happy Birthday,” Doss smiled as she crossed the room, thanking everyone for celebrating with her.

Carolyn Tribel, who teaches two weekly gym classes for Doss, said she was so impressed that she wanted to get to know her students, who are under the age of one. Being 97 years old is something special, he said.

“He did a great job,” said Tribel, noting that in the first hour he saw Doss move quickly with his weight on his feet. His friend was wearing a cap, so Tribel couldn’t see his face clearly and at first thought he was young. He even saw Dos running home from school one day.

Two women discussed World War II. Tribel uses the term airplane for physical training, while Doss refers to his military service.

But Tribel’s two sessions are just some of the Doss activity. She also dances in line several times a week and dance practice once a week.

Doss, who lives in Poway, said she enjoys being physically active.

“Coming from Nebraska, we were strong people,” he said of his childhood in Omaha. “The summers are hot and the winters are cold, which is a blessing. I also grew up during the Depression, so Coke and ice cream are very expensive. We grow our own vegetables.”

Doss attributes his strength in the ’90s to healthy eating and religious beliefs.

“I have always been Catholic, so I think it has to do with my faith in God,” said Doss, who attends Mass daily and attends parishioners at St. In Michael Poway.

“I like my life too,” he said. “That’s why I’m still here. A good family can live long.”

Doss and her husband, Joel Doss II, have been married for almost 72 years. He passed away in November 2020 at the age of 94.

Her eldest son, Joel, says he believes genetics also play a role. His mother’s parents are in their 90s and his grandmother is very active, he said.

Doss didn’t start jumping until he was 60 years old. It all started when he took his nephew to Poway’s Val LaRue Studio for dance lessons, the son said.

In 2015, Doss began taking adult dance classes at San Diego’s Citizen School of Dance Arts at the Rancho Bernardo-Glassman Recreation Center, performing with dancers old enough to be her grandchild. A friend couldn’t drive anymore, so her son took machine learning classes last fall to keep dancing.

“I was very impressed with Mary Beth,” SCDDA dance coach Leslie Padilla recalls, recalling how quickly Doss picked up on faucet combinations in her first class. “I looked at him and he was deaf, so I pulled him forward to do it.”

Padilla also remembers Doss trying out a jazz class in the early 90s and hitting the floor with ease during the warm-up.

“He seems modest,” said Padilla. “She’s amazing, she’s my idol. Very energetic, she acts like there’s no problem… She’s really happy and fulfilled.”

While dancing is now an important part of Doss’s life, it can be seen as a third act. He was first in the navy and second in the music.

After working with his father for the Union Pacific Railroad, he joined WAVE at the age of 20 during World War II. He worked at the Naval Hospital in San Francisco for about three years.

WAVES – Women’s Volunteer Ambulance Service – Founded in 1942 to serve men at sea.

According to the friend, Bill’s brother served in the Navy, which is why he chose to serve.

“America is under attack and our country is united,” Doss said of his motivation for service. – When I get out of school, all the kids in my class walk.

While at TOLKUNS, Doss met her future husband, who was in the Navy. The two married in 1949, and she is a Navy wife who emigrated across the country to support her husband’s military career, according to her son.

Joel Doss retired after 26 years of service in the Navy. His last job was in San Diego, and the couple decided to stay. Mary Beth Doss moved her family to Poway in 1977 after teaching at El Centro Catholic School for several years.

The couple has four children, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and a little.

A few years ago, a friend and her husband went on an honorary flight. This program brings veterans to Washington, DC, for free, to see monuments commemorating their military service.

Dos recalls: “From the moment we got off the plane, everyone clapped and we were escorted by motorbikes. “There was a fire truck spraying water on the plane. When we arrived at [World War II] Memorial College, the students cheered us on. We were treated very special.”

After leaving the army, Doss used the GI Bill to attend college, his son said. Today, he graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in English and a major in Music.

“My aunt and uncle were pianists, and I remember playing when I was three years old,” says Dos. “My aunt is a professional singer and I grew up listening to 1930s music. Best pop music. Lots of 40s stuff.”

According to his friend, music is the best memory in his life.

He also likes to share with others. In addition to his work in the choir of the Catholic Church of St. Michael, he’s been singing in RB Chorale for decades. His son calls it his “second career”.

“I need a spotlight,” Friend said with a laugh. “I prefer to express myself. I want to be liked, so I sing to others.”

Andrea Vasquez said she met Doss more than 25 years ago at RB Chorale. Not only singing together, Vasquez also worked as a choreographer for about 15 years, while Dost was loved by the audience for his comedy and choreography skills.

“He was just a rock,” Vazquez said. “Audiences loved to see him. At one performance, two men took him off the stage and ran on his feet.”

In the “Guys and Dolls” combo, Doss stands on a bench and returns to the hands of the man behind him. “He checks everything,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez said 120 singers were invited to sit during the 2.5-hour concert, but Doss never got a seat.

After 46 years, RB Chorale disbanded in 2020.

“He was a beautiful, lovely man,” Vazquez said. “They support (my show) and take care of my daughters. They are famous and respected for their voices.”

As for other activities, Joel Doss said his mother is very involved in the community. For nearly 30 years, she volunteered at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. He is also a lifetime member of the Poway Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

A year ago, she joined the Rancho Bernardo Rotary Club, where her son had been a member for many years. He also meets every Sunday morning at the intersection of Pomerado Road, North Camino Road, and Twin Peaks Road, which his son calls “Freedom Corner” a sign of Communist political and current affairs. peace.

“He said he fought for this country and would fight again,” said Joel Doss.

By Lusjan