Queen for a lifetime
Retirement community honors second-oldest Rose Queen
By André Coleman 04/23/2014
The second-oldest Rose Queen was honored on April 17 at Villa Gardens Retirement home.
Sally Rubsamen, 90, was named Rose Queen for 1941 when she was just 17. In that role, she helped dedicate California’s first freeway when the Arroyo Seco (110) Freeway opened on Dec. 30, 1940 just two days before she rode a float down Colorado Boulevard as part of the New Year’s Day festivities.
Ironically during the parade, she met her husband Charles, who was driving one of the floats that day.
The couple married in June 1944 and lived in Pasadena. They had two children, Chip and Anne. According to Villa Gardens Event Coordinator Evita Valero, Chip and Anne affectionately called the 110, “Mom’s Freeway.”
In 2010, Rubsame was an honored guest at the Caltrans Museum exhibit of the 110 Freeway on the 70th anniversary of its opening.
The oldest Rose Queen is Margaret Huntley Main, 92. Main was the 1940 Rose Queen.
After graduating from Pasadena Junior College, now Pasadena City College, Rubsamen went on to graduate from the University of Washington and worked on several space programs at JPL, including the Voyager. She left JPL and decided to pursue a law degree and specialized in estate planning. She later served on the Pasadena Library Board of Directors.
“Sally is just a great person,” Valero said. “She is very friendly and always smiling and very humble. She has inspired many people with her achievements. We were happy to honor her.”
The event at Villa Gardens was attended by 2014 Tournament of Roses Princess Jamie Kwong.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Sally told the Weekly. “I was overwhelmed.”