Julia Morgan's original drawings for our Clubhouse, Courtesy of Cal Poly Archives

SAN LUIS OBISPO NATIVE DAUGHTER - Mary Lu Hendrickson by Lisa Guy

January 19, 2016 1:39 PM | Linda Wilson (Administrator)

Those who have been lucky enough to know Mary Lu appreciate her love for her Irish heritage and remember her white and green china, hallways filled with photographs and Irish mementos, fondness for ceramic leprechauns, and love of a good party!

Mary Lu was an only child, born in San Luis Obispo on May 12, 1914, where she lived happily for 98 years until moving to the Bayside Care Center in Morro Bay.  At the age of one she moved into her grandfather’s home on Palm Street (otherwise known as the Righetti House), living there with her parents Joseph C. and Lyda Welsh until she was married at the age of 23 to Harry Borah.  She and Harry raised two sons, and in 1955, Mary Lu earned an AA degree and worked for several years as a secretary for both high school and elementary school districts in San Luis Obispo.

In 1968, Mary Lu and Harry founded Borah’s Trophy Store, and although no longer in the family, it is still operating today as Borah’s Awards.

Ever active and involved in her community, in 1955, Mary Lu joined The Monday Club of San Luis Obispo.  Her mother, Lyda, had been an early member of the Club, but it was long after her mother died that she became a member herself.  Mary Lu left the Club for a time and was reinstated in 1981.  According to her son, Nixson Borah, “My mother greatly enjoyed participating in the activities and meetings.  Her favorite times were when she and others could perform skits on stage in crazy costumes.  She loves SLO history and enjoyed participating in the Club’s architectural tours, especially when she could wear her mother’s clothes.  Her 90th birthday was celebrated at The Monday Club.”

According to her son, Mary Lu has always been a positive person.  Her health as a young adult was poor and she learned the importance of keeping an optimistic outlook.  After losing her husband Harry, Mary Lu, at 81 years of age, met artist Erling Hendrickson, then 90, on the Madonna Inn dance floor and they had the gift of ten years together.  Our member, Gerry Johnson, remembers seeing the couple on the dance floor and being introduced to Erling by a flushed and happy Mary Lu!

As an only child, Nixson believes his mother was sometimes lonely, and this helped to create her capacity to be sociable and make friends with most everyone she meets.  According to Nixson, “Even though her stroke has ultimately made it rare for her to manage speech, she still has a winning smile that endears her to everyone in the nursing home.  Her optimistic attitude seems to be serving her well to this day.”

It is with honor and gratitude that The Monday Club recognizes Mary Lu Hendrickson as a Life Member for her 35 consecutive years of service and dedication to The Monday Club of San Luis Obispo.  Mary Lu, we love you!


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