The Golden Girls
The Manteca Golden Girls, Evelyn Allen, Kathryn Lauritson, Betty Bergthold and Selma Wrigglesworth faithfully loved and served the people of Manteca.
They served Manteca as business owners. In 1945, Evelyn Allen opened Allen’s Jewelry and ran it until 1995. A slogan she was heard to say many times was, “If you don’t know your jewels, know your jeweler.” There was integrity behind that statement. Evelyn put her customers first. In one instance, she allowed teenage girls to slowly purchase a silver tea set for their parents’ anniversary.
Kathryn Lauritson, with her husband George, opened the Manteca Variety in 1939. She ran it by herself after George’s death in 1968 until it closed in 1976. As a business woman in the 1970’s, Kathryn had an acute sense of business insight. She enjoyed helping and visiting with her customers, making each them feel welcome and special.
Selma Wrigglesworth, with her husband Gus, opened Wrigglesworth A Man’s Shop in 1965. She relished working with customers as well as being part of the Manteca business community. She was instrumental in hiring high school students to work in their store, giving them an opportunity for work.
Betty Bergthold, with her husband Charles, owned Bergthold Mortuary for 28 years. She received her license as a mortician, something rare for a woman in the 1940s. With tenderness and understanding, she served families during their time of grief. A favorite family saying, “Busy hands are happy hands” which Betty certainly exemplified this through her many knitting projects.
These women served Manteca through service. Their families were the center of their lives, with Evelyn having a son, Kathryn having two daughters, Selma with two daughters, and Betty with two girls and a boy. All four of the Golden Girls were active members of the Manteca Soroptomist Club. Two of them, Evelyn and Betty, were charter members. All four served as Club President. The Golden Girls were members of Pentalpha Chapter of Eastern Star. Several of them served on the Rainbow Board mentoring teenage girls. They were charter members of the Manteca Historical Society and enjoyed working at the museum. Evelyn, Betty and Kathryn volunteered as Pink Ladies and at the gift shop at Manteca Doctor’s Hospital while Selma volunteered at St. Dominic’s Hospital. Betty and Selma volunteered at the Manteca Library. Evelyn and Kathryn were members of Federated Women’s Club, Selma and Betty were members of PEO, Betty was part of the American Legion Auxiliary, Betty and Selma were active in PTA, Betty as President and receiving Honorary Life Member.
They served Manteca through their faith as they all belonged to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. They helped in the kitchen at memorial services, baked and cooked, served on multiple committees, organized fund raisers and social events, lead classes, participated with the United Methodist Women, and worked at the Nearly New Shop. They loved their pastors and church family.
They were incredible examples of individuals who supported each other and the community. They were “people-people,” ones who never knew a stranger, helped those in need, and didn’t need accolades themselves for their work. These joy-filled women lived lives of honor and generosity, served and lead, traveled and enjoyed each other’s company. They helped mold Manteca into the Family City that it is today.