100 White Castles, commemorative skateboarding shoes help mark milestone birthday

Lydia Motchan with Creve Coeur Fire Department Firefighters at her 100th birthday celebration July 10. Photo: Jennifer Feldman

Lydia Motchan celebrated her 100th birthday on July 10 along with 100 close friends and relatives.

The party also included 100 Mounds candy bars (which first appeared in 1921 — 100 years ago) and 100 White Castles (also 100 years old).

Mrs. Motchan grew up in south St. Louis, where she and her three siblings could enjoy a White Castle meal for about 50 cents during the Great Depression. Mrs. Motchan also was presented with a commemorative pair of Van’s skateboard shoes from Steve Van Doren, the son of the founder of the shoe company. Mrs. Motchan frequently wears Van’s (but she does not skateboard).

Mrs. Motchan was a secretary at The Sporting News back in the 1940s, and she attended one of the Cardinals-St. Louis Browns World Series games in 1944. In the 1950s and 1960s, she transitioned to a career in art and oil painting, eventually winning a statewide competition in Missouri for her work. In the 1970s, she became an executive secretary and retired as assistant to the president of the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis.

Guests at the July 10 party included members of the Creve Coeur Fire Department. Mrs. Motchan lives at Manor Condominium and for years baked and hand-delivered brownies to firefighters at Fire Station #2 on Schuetz Road. Also during the birthday party, Mrs. Motchan’s physician, Dr. Shari Cohen, spoke. She indicated that she intended to practice medicine for at least another decade but that after retiring, Mrs. Motchan could go to Cohen’s daughter, who is in now in medical school.

Mrs. Motchan was the subject of a 2017 St. Louis Jewish Light story.