Living Grand: Mary Renfrow

Mary Renfrow's highschool memories unfold through glittering scenes of Americana--football and the San Fernando Valley.

Mary Renfrow was in high school when she discovered her passion for football. At Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga, CA, young Mary would dress in the school colors for games and cheer from the stands. The team didn’t win much, but Mary fell in love with the sport. She even helped her team by tutoring one of the team’s star players so he could pass U.S. history and stay eligible to play. 

“When we graduated, he wrote in my yearbook and thanked me for bringing him through football by tutoring him,” Mary said. 

That passion for football has grown over the years, and Mary, who lived nearly all of her 90 years in California’s San Fernando Valley, considers herself a fan of all of the Golden State’s teams. Her favorite, though, is the Raiders, who she started following when they were in Los Angeles and continued following when they moved to Oakland and now, when they are in Las Vegas. 

Mary also grew up loving music. Her mother played the piano, and Mary and her sister would sing along. She performed in church youth groups and choirs. She’s able to nurture that love of music with her GrandPad, which she received as a birthday gift a year and a half ago. She loves listening to Tony Bennett – “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” especially – and when she couldn’t find her favorite Beach Boys’ song, she contacted customer support and they added it for her. 

Mary moved to Phoenix a few years ago to be closer to her daughter, and she likes how easy GrandPad makes it to stay connected with family, whether that means visiting with her grandchildren or reaching out for help. Until recently, she lived in a skilled nursing facility. But one day she pushed the facility’s call button four times with no response. 

“I called my daughter using the GrandPad and didn’t have to look up her number. I just pushed her button and told her, ‘Nobody’s coming’,” Mary said. “She said, ‘I’ll be right there.’ If I had fallen, I could have been hurt badly. With GrandPad, I was able to get help.” 

These days, Mary has her GrandPad by her side from the moment she wakes up. She checks the weather first thing in the morning and uses her GrandPad to talk with her sister in Kansas, both by phone and by video call. Mary likes the GrandPad’s daily inspirations and even simple apps like the dictionary and flashlight. She also uses her GrandPad to watch services at her old church in California. 

Now that she can’t get out as much as she used to, Mary appreciates that her GrandPad gives her options for communications, entertainment, and more.  “It completely, completely changes your life,” Mary said. “Without the GrandPad my life would be boring. There’s times my daughter needs to go and do things and other relatives come in, but I would be really, really bored.”