Stories to Tell,
Lives We Can’t Imagine
Clark Gable is considered one of the great movie stars of all time, an American film legend and icon.
He also has a connection to St. Ann’s Community.
Betty Ryan, a resident of St. Ann’s Home, lived in Hollywood in the 1930s. She was a singer on contract with Warner Brothers and performed with some of the era’s most popular big bands, including the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Part of Hollywood’s golden age, she was friends with many celebrities including the legendary Mr. Gable.
She met him in an acting troupe when she was just 14.
Years later, she was quoted in a movie magazine as saying, “When I saw him strutting around, opening his big eyes wide at everyone, I thought: What a ham! He’ll never get anywhere—not in a million years!”
Despite that error in judgment, she remained friends with Gable throughout her years in Hollywood.
Betty was one of 24 residents of St. Ann’s Community recognized at our annual Centenarian Celebration, a salute to those turning 100.
Why do we honor those turning 100? Certainly because it’s a milestone not everyone reaches, but also because it allows us to reflect on the amazing lives of these individuals.
They have lived lives we can’t even imagine.
Some, like Betty, had careers in show business. Others built our city’s buildings, worked in our schools and hospitals, set athletic records, and ran the businesses that made Rochester thrive. More than a few had adventures that would astound us. Each person has stories to tell, and they are fascinating stories—if we take the time to listen.
The next time you pass one of our residents in the hallway, take a moment to consider the life they’ve led, the roads they’ve traveled. Show them the respect we can only hope younger generations show us when we are in their shoes. Because one day we will be.
– Michael E. McRae
President and CEO, St. Ann’s Community