95-year-old woman retires after nearly century of work at Alta Bates

Trying to keep up with Orinda’s Elena Griffing may be an impossible task.

"I keep saying I should have worked one more year, but 75 sounds like a good number."

It’s true.

For 75 years this 95-year-old dynamo has walked the halls at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley.

"My first day of work was April 10th, 1946," said Griffing.

That is nine combined decades and 15 presidents ago. 

She has always worn a perfectly pressed lab coat and stylish heels.

Her secretary skills were unrivaled in the hospital’s labs and burn unit, but it was her passion and smile that brought everyone so much joy.

It’s been a great ride, but after over 27,000 days she’s finally saying goodbye to a job she dearly loves.

"I couldn’t wait to go to work every day," she said. "I couldn’t wait to get there. I took vacation but only because I had to. When you enjoy what you are doing and think you are doing something for somebody it gives you such joy. That’s the way it’s always been.

So, what’s her secret?

She says find your passion.

Shealso stays fit on her treadmill running a mile plus each day and finds solace in her huge camellia garden.

Her trusty dog, Peggy, has been by her side for a dozen years and adores her 30-plus nephews and nieces now two generations strong.

She also has a love affair with Frank Sinatra.

"Is there anyone better?" Griffing asked.

She met Sinatra in the '40s when she was president of his fan club and she’s still a member.

She owns every single Sinatra album. Her walls are littered with autographed photos and memorabilia including a picture of her and "old blue eyes" himself. 

"I hear him every day, and every day it just raises my spirits and brings me joy," she said. 

 Her last day of work is May 3 and then it’s off to the next adventure.