Nawatha Reed turned 80 yesterday but on Saturday morning she marked the milestone with a fog-shrouded walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with family members and friends – and returned to have lunch.
“It was great,” said Reed, who was accompanied by 35 others, mostly family members. “My grandson from San Diego and his friend met us on the other side.”
Her grandson couldn’t get to the western end for the beginning of the walk because he had to deal with his rental car being broken into and their luggage stolen.
Her oldest son surprised her by flying down from Portland with his three oldest children to walk with Nawatha.
“It took us about 50 minutes,” said Reed of the walk across the famous bridge. “We just walked it once. There was such a large response I had gotten a bus, so he dropped us off at one end and picked us up at the other and we had lunch there. We just all took our sack lunches and ate there by the Welcome Center.”
The sun broke through the fog once the group arrived at the Welcome Center.
Mrs. Reed has always been active but has become more active since the 2020 death of her husband of 60 years. She recently enjoyed a trip to France with her daughter, Sheryl Yoder Welch.
The Golden Gate Bridge walk involved her two children, five of her six grandchildren, eight of her 14 great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, her maid-of-honor and others. A niece, who shares the same birthday, flew in from Illinois with her family to participate.
Former Ceres City Councilman Mike Kline and wife Tami, who is a niece of hers, walked as did Brandy and Keith Meyer. Brandy is her grandson-in-law’s mother.
Nawatha has been inspired to mark milestone birthdays doing different things out of the ordinary. To mark her 50th birthday, Reed rollerbladed with her daughter and two granddaughters. She got her first bike on her 70th birthday, and went zip-lining in Mariposa for her 75th birthday.
“So then we were trying to think of something to do for my 80th and actually my maid of honor was going to walk the bridge for her birthday last May but she couldn’t. So I said, ‘Can I steal your idea?’ And so she went with me and it just grew from there.”
“She is definitely an inspiration,” said daughter Sheryl.
Nawatha’s family lived in farm labor camps in Sanger and Dos Palos before moving to Ceres in August 1951 when she was in the fifth grade. She reports how Ceres has changed a lot over the decades, noting that “it was much better when I was growing up here, I’ll tell you that.”
“When I was growing up we could walk all over the country of Ceres, anyplace, with no worries. Now I’m afraid to let my grandkids out after dark.”
Besides being the matriarch of the family, Nawatha is the contact point for the Ceres High graduating class of 1959, arranging lunch gatherings for members when COVID isn’t interrupting life. She is active in Harvest Presbyterian Church and has been in her Bible study group (with Betty Baker who just turned 100) for over 20 years. She is also involved in the Persephone Guild which helps to raise money for Ceres.