Queer Places:
The Cats, 17533 Santa Cruz Hwy, Los Gatos, CA 95033

Beth Grover Rondone (May 28, 1910 - September 21, 2018) was a diver, reporter, historian, biographer, admission clerk, volunteer, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother.

Beth was born in Russia and still had memories of fleeing her homeland just before the outbreak of World War I, her family traveling in wagons pulled by draft horses. They eventually immigrated to Portland, Ore., in 1914, where the family had few resources and moved from house to house. But her harsh childhood was also filled with great adventures. Beth became a child swimming star and swam in the glass pool at Portland’s Pantages Vaudeville Theater, among the seals. She appeared in newsreels of the day. But her biggest adventure began when she met a wealthy young woman named Katherine "Kitty" Seaman Beck in 1917, and was subsequently "adopted" by Kitty and her sister Sissy. At Kitty’s mansion she met anarchist Emma Goldman, birth control advocate Margaret Sanger and Kitty’s lover, Col. Charles Erskine Scott Wood. Kitty died a mysterious death in 1924. Beth eventually traveled to ‘The Cats’ in Los Gatos in the company of Emily Seaman, Kitty’s sister, who had been hired by Col. Wood to write the biography of Wood’s father, the first surgeon general of the U.S. Navy. Beth worked as a reporter for the Los Gatos Mail News from 1930 to 1934, after Col. Wood intervened on her behalf with the publisher, Hyland Baggerly.

Beth moved to San Jose after her marriage in 1934. She became a United States citizen in 1935.

While in elementary school, she was a protege of Milly Schloth who would have young Beth dive off Portland's famous bridges, using the resulting newspaper coverage to gain support for Schloth's campaign to have swimming instruction for all students.

During her time as a reporter for the Los Gatos Mail News, Beth met and married Frank Frederick Rondone. They were to have four daughters: Katherine (Guimont), Angela, Madeline (Taty) and Francesca (Kolling). As a widow in 1950, Beth started her long career at O'Connor's Hospital, retiring as head admission clerk in the in the late 1980's.

She returned to her love of writing, authoring many short stories and working on a biography of Katherine "Kitty" Seaman Beck. With her connection to Col. C.E.S. Wood, Beth became a source of historical information for authors of his biography.

At the age of 100 Beth was still volunteering at the cancer research.

She died on September 21, 2018, at the age of 108.

My published books:

See my published books