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Weeks’ death end of an era

When Lena Weeks died last week in Grass Valley, many people probably did not know that it was the end of an era, unless they knew her middle name.

That name was Ghidotti, the same famous Nevada County family linked to plenty of history here. It is the family responsible for the Ghidotti Foundation, which presents 40 college scholarships every year, the Ghidotti Building in downtown Nevada City and the Ghidotti Room at the St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley.

When her death came will little fanfare, it was indicative of her quiet, unassuming nature. That’s when her son, Gary Weeks of Nevada City, started hearing that more recognition was due.



“People said to me ‘This is the last of the Ghidotti family, this is of historical interest,” Gary Weeks said Tuesday. “Mom didn’t want (funeral) services, but old-timers said ‘This is an end of an era.'”

Weeks, 93, graduated from Nevada City High School and a business college in Sacramento. She married Marvin Weeks in 1930, and began her career in retail clothing in 1942, when she went to work for Arletta Douglas at The Bon Allure dress shop on Mill Street.




“When she went to work, it was six days a week with no 10-minute breaks,” Gary said. She would spend 50 years at the dress shop and became co-owner in 1974.

“Lena bought the business from Arletta when she retired,” remembered Helen Williams of Williams All Value Stationery Store in downtown Grass Valley. “She was a very nice, congenial and easy-to-deal with person, she was a real lady.”

“She was a mainstay of downtown Grass Valley and knew almost every shopper,” said her daughter-in-law, Margie Weeks, wife of Lena’s other son, Clifford Weeks. “She was an incredible cook and she used to feed half of her neighborhood when she lived on Lloyd Street. She was known for her ravioli, I learned to cook from her.

“She never drove, she walked everywhere. She was still walking to town every day last year when she was 93.”

She was also one of the people responsible for the rejuvenation of downtown Grass Valley, Gary said.

“In the ’50s and ’60s, there were a lot of empty buildings in (downtown) Grass Valley,” Gary said. “She would meet with a group of people and that was the forerunner of the Downtown Grass Valley Association,” that helps keep the area vibrant today.

“I don’t ever remember her saying anything wrong about anybody,” Margie said. “She was one of the most gracious women I ever met.”

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To contact senior staff writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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