George Dondero celebrates his 107th birthday with four of his 11 great-grandchildren at Aljoya Mercer Island on Oct. 7. In the back are Nick and Lucas Edwards; in front of them are Jack and Harper Flanagan. Courtesy photo

George Dondero celebrates his 107th birthday with four of his 11 great-grandchildren at Aljoya Mercer Island on Oct. 7. In the back are Nick and Lucas Edwards; in front of them are Jack and Harper Flanagan. Courtesy photo

Mercer Island’s Dondero turns 107 on 10/7

He visits with family at party and on Zoom calls.

George Dondero gives six workout machines a go every day at the Aljoya Mercer Island retirement community.

He yanks the machines up to their top resistance and knocks off 200 reps on one and 60 on the others.

He is 107 years old.

A day after Dondero’s latest birthday on Oct. 7, he thought about the key to living so long.

“I wish I knew … I don’t have anything that hurts,” said Dondero, noting that his hearing and eyesight aren’t what they used to be.

During a small birthday celebration at Aljoya with some family members, Dondero participated in several Zoom calls with more family and friends.

“It was the best way to have a birthday party, to talk to people you haven’t seen for years,” he said.

Daughter Barbara Duval attended the gathering and said her father had a good time telling stories about his life.

“He put into 50 years of his than most of us could put into if we had 100,” she said, noting that Dondero has 11 great-grandchildren.

Duval described her father as energetic, curious and confident. He helped build the resort at Sugar Bowl ski resort in California, where he took a photo of actress Janet Leigh that got her discovered in Hollywood. During the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, he and his family members became ill, but survived.

“He loves to solve problems and always comes up with a solution. He’s a very inspirational person,” Duval said.

The San Francisco-born Dondero was an inventor and holds many patents, including a release-free ski binding, a sailboat table that snaps on and swivels, ski tie grips and more.

During World War II, he was an essential worker while making wooden patterns for metal casting in foundries. Later, at Smith Sport Optics, he made seven goggle models, and developed new products for JT USA for motocross and paintball. He was also a swimmer, skier and ice dancer.

At Aljoya — where Dondero has resided since 2009 — executive director Marla Becker said that the 107-year-old is “constantly coming into my office with many ideas that we put into operations because they’re always worthwhile.”

Dondero is an avid bocce ball player and made a special broom to clean the courts.

He keeps those workout machines busy as well.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in News

t
City moves toward rebuilding its Parks and Recreation Department

Council appropriates $328,000 for recovery efforts.

t
‘You can’t just sit and wait for something and be a victim’

Following rash of anti-Asian hate crimes, Islanders offer self-defense course.

t
Welcome aboard the police force

Officers Lee Tortorelli and Chris Smith were sworn in to the Mercer… Continue reading

t
School district announces update for grades 2-5 hybrid learning

In an April 20 update on the Mercer Island School District website,… Continue reading

w
Injuries reported in two-car collision

Three people were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries following a… Continue reading

t
Arts Council focuses on reset plan and funding at meeting

Staff will discuss recovery budget with city council.

t
Soaking up the sun

Anthony Berry gets in some fishing off a dock at Luther Burbank… Continue reading

Most Read