Without a doubt, square dancing was one of Santa Clarita resident Esther DeGregorio’s favorite pastimes, if not her most beloved.
These days, with a walker in use, dancing is no longer part of her day-to-day activities, but on Saturday, a group of her friends and family celebrated DeGregorio and her love of dancing for a milestone birthday: her 100th.
“Happy birthday, Esther,” yelled friends from a caravan of about two dozen cars that drove past her home with balloons, signs and gifts.
Born in Italy, DeGregorio immigrated to the United States at the age of 6. After she married Joe DeGregorio, in 1952 they moved to Colorado and had two children — Angie and David. DeGregorio died in 1975.
In 2009, DeGregorio relocated to Santa Clarita to live with her daughter and son-in-law Bob Messina. In settling locally, DeGregorio became an active member of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, where she met her dancing friends.
“I used to love to square dance. I had a partner all the time, and he was wonderful to me. I enjoyed working with him, and he was a good-looking man,” she said with a big grin.
Among the dancing partners DeGregorio had was Steve Kay, who stopped by Saturday to wish her a happy birthday.
“I danced with her at the Senior Center and probably up in Bakersfield when she was probably 80 or so,” he said. “She was always so sweet and positive. Esther has all her marbles.”