'Dimi' Todd oldest crowned in the center's annual tradition.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Clara Cannon, Valley Catholic High School's first-ever Rose Festival princess, helped crown Maryville Rose Queen 'Dimi' Todd at the Beaverton Care Center on June 15.When you’re 100 years old, you’ve had time to practice a few things.

“Dimi” Todd, for example, had her first go ‘round as royalty back during World War II, but she was every bit as pleased to be crowned as this year’s Maryville Rose Queen.

“From now on, you have to bow and say ‘Your Highness,’” Todd said with a mischievous grin after a short coronation on Monday, June 15.

The ceremony featured special guest Clara Cannon, who recently wrapped up her duties as the first-ever Rose Festival princess from Valley Catholic High School, which shares the same campus as the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in Beaverton.

Speaking of firsts, Todd is Maryville’s first-ever queen to be crowned after hitting the century mark. Maryville started its Rose Queen tradition 37 years ago, skipped some years in the middle, but has held fast to the tradition for the past 15 years, said Hilee Jackson, the center’s activity director.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Maryville residents enjoy the spectacle as 100-year-old 'Dimi' Todd is crowned Rose Queen for 2015 at the Beaverton care facility.Todd represented Maryville’s West Annex, where she moved last year from a nearby retirement center. Her competition from other wings within the large residential facility were relative youngsters, 91-year-old Princess Velma “Val” Koven and 92-year-old Naomi Lewis. Staff selected a princess from each unit and residents voted on their choice.

“It was a very tight race,” said Jackson, who emceed the event.

Todd took over the crown from 2014 Queen Kay Kowalczyk.

“It’s been enjoyable. Now it’s kind of sad,” Kowalczyk said before adding “Give everybody a chance, I say.”

“Once a queen, always a queen in our hearts,” Jackson said.

Kowalczyk also took a moment to counsel Todd: “Enjoy every moment of it. It sure flies by fast,” she said, noting the travel opportunities available to the reigning Maryville Rose Queen. “You’ll see things you’ve never seen in your lifetime.”

Todd seems well-prepared, having served as the queen of Marana Army Air Field near Tucson, Ariz., where her husband, Bob, was getting advanced pilot’s training before going off to serve in the war.

Todd, born Pauline Vonnie Dimit in Portland during late 1914, later worked as a fashion model as well as in clerical and bank jobs.

Bob Todd, who passed away a decade ago, started a Portland packaging company that evolved into their family’s Zepak Corporation, now based in Wilsonville. He also worked in real estate.

“This is big for her, right Grandma?” said her grandson, Brent Zenner of Beaverton, one of several family members who attended the ceremony. “I’m of course happy because Grandma’s very happy about it.”

Todd has maintained her classic good looks, and her grandson kidded her about the elderly boyfriends she keeps outliving.

“I don’t come after them,” she said with a chuckle “They come after me.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Seven-year-old Sarah Zenner gives a big hug to her great-aunt 'Demi' Todd after the 100-year-old resident at Maryville was crowned Rose Queen. Clara Cannon, Valley Catholic High School's first Rose Festival princess, looks on.

By Eric Apalategui
Beaverton Reporter
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