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Kathryn Sarzotti Erburu, 107; immigrated to Ventura in 1901

December 01, 2006|From a Times Staff Writer

Kathryn Sarzotti Erburu, who immigrated to Ventura with her Italian parents at the beginning of the 20th century, died Tuesday of complications from old age at her Ojai home, said her son, Robert. She was 107.

Less than 1% of the population lives beyond the century mark, according to the Gerontology Research Group at UCLA.

For her 100th birthday in 1999, NBC's "Today Show" displayed a photograph of her engaged in a favorite pursuit: riding her stationary bicycle, her son said.

Born Catherina Sarzotti on Sept. 30, 1899, in Piemonte, Italy, she came through Ellis Island just days after turning 2. The family relocated to Ventura because an aunt lived there.

After high school, she worked as a bookkeeper for a Ventura lumberyard before marrying Michael Erburu, a sheepherder, in 1919.

The couple had three children and moved to Ojai in 1931. Her husband died in 1963.

Throughout her life, she was a committed volunteer at her local Catholic church and schools, her son said.

During World War II, Erburu was one of many volunteers to help military personnel stationed at the Ojai Valley Inn. More than 50 years later, she celebrated her century milestone with a luncheon at the inn.

Her eldest son, Lawrence, was a Marine who was killed during World War II. Her daughter, Barbara, died in 1998.

In addition to her son, Robert F. Erburu, a former chairman of Times Mirror Co., she is survived by three granddaughters and six great-grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be said at 8:45 a.m. Saturday at San Buenaventura Mission, 211 E. Main St., Ventura.

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