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Betty's Corner


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Oakhurst resident meets role model Betty White

SierraStar.com

Joan Clary treated like a star after winning contest

Joan Clary, 70, of Oakhurst, made a trip to Los Angeles on her birthday she won't soon forget. As the winner of The Lifeline Program's "Meet Betty White" contest, Clary was flown to Los Angeles for the opportunity to meet her role model May 9 at an exclusive Hollywood photo shoot with celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz.

"At first I thought the phone call to me was either a joke or a scam," Clary said. "But no, the call was legit."

Clary, who substitute teaches in the Mountain Area, said she was thrilled to be selected as the winner of the contest and it was a joy to meet White.

"I've admired her for so many years," Clary said. "She was even more delightful than I could have imagined. It is so refreshing to discover that someone who has captured the hearts of people for generations, really is a caring, witty and as genuine in person as she appears on screen.

The Lifeline Programs' representatives stayed in touch with me by phone, email and FedEx, and finally in person when I arrived in Los Angeles May 8, my 70th birthday. By that time I considered them all friends."

Both being animal lovers, Clary and White hit it off immediately.

"Her concern and love for animals has always been one of the reasons I admire her," said Clary. "She is now a spokesperson for The Lifeline Program that is helping to redefine retirement for people like me who don't want to fade away but embrace the joy of living every minute we have."

Clary was given the star treatment including roundtrip airfare to Los Angeles, all ground transportation by limousine service, two nights' accommodations at Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills, and her visit with White at Smashbox Studios.

Clary, who moved to Oakhurst from Tracy in 2006 with her husband Bill, said that for many people her age, Betty White is one of the last remaining role models to remind them that the next adventure is still ahead.

When we moved to Oakhurst, my husband and I hoped to enjoy many years celebrating our love and the life we shared in this beautiful mountain community," Clary said. "Bill died shortly after we got here and I hate being a widow because I was so blessed to be his wife for 43 years."

Clary said being alone has led her to new adventures including returning to the classroom.

"And yes, high school students are Betty White fans too," she said.

Clary entered the contest on-line in March and won the random drawing.

The 33rd Annual Telly Awards recently honored Lifeline with a 2012 Silver Telly Award, the highest Telly accolade, for its viral YouTube music video, "I'm Still Hot -- featuring the Emmy winning actress.

In the music video, White was rapping alongside British singer Luciana. The video spawned overwhelming national media attention and more than one million YouTube hits shortly after its release.

Founded in 1989, The Lifeline Program offers life settlements as a new financial planning option to baby boomers and retirees.

Informative videos featuring Lifeline spokesperson White are available at thelifeline.com.


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