Dr. Grace’s 100th Birthday Celebration at the Livermore Church
by Gene Valdez and Earlene Knight
Dr. Grace Devnich, who was born on December 30, 1907, the first woman doctor in the city of Livermore, and a member of the church for nearly 60 years, celebrated her 100th birthday in front of friends, family, and far flung members of the church past and present on December 15th. Dr. Grace was treated to a special children’s program, several special musical performances, and presentations by Head Elder John Cloke and Pastor Darrell Chilson.
Affectionately known as Dr. Grace, she not only has the distinction of practicing medicine in Livermore for over 30 years, but as a child was introduced to Ellen G. White. She delivered nearly 800 babies, and over that time was instrumental in the construction of the Livermore Church in the early 1950s that still stands today.
She has authored a book about her mother-in-law’s immigration into the United States, written several volumes of poetry, and has been a member of the Livermore Historical Society for many years. She has done every duty at church from teaching Children’s Sabbath School to several positions on the Church Board. Throughout her years in Livermore she has been a continual fountain of support for the church and its members.
The day was topped off with a special potluck, where nearly 75 attendees stayed on to eat birthday cake, and listen to one of Dr. Grace’s students, the now grown Dave Quinones, serenade her to “Thank You”, a song of thanks for teaching Dave about our Lord Jesus Christ.
Doctor Grace took in all the fanfare with the dignity she has displayed for a century now. “It humbled me and I had a wonderful time!” was her reaction to the service and she said of being 100 years old, “It feels all right”. She stated that the greatest blessing she had received in her time as a Seventh-day Adventist was seeing new members get baptized.
The former mayor of Livermore was in attendance for the service. Pastor Chilson read a special poem written by his wife Sammy, and Elder Cloke read a proclamation of happy birthday from Conference President Jim Pedersen.
The local Rotary Club had a special celebration for her on December 26. Dr. Grace had several community and family celebrations, but this one with her church family may have been the most special of all.