Spane celebrates 100 years

Alice Spane and her daughter, Karen Abbott, look forward to seeing community members at Spane’s 100th birthday party on March 9. - Kirk Boxleitner
Alice Spane and her daughter, Karen Abbott, look forward to seeing community members at Spane’s 100th birthday party on March 9.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Not only is Alice Spane turning 100 years old on March 9, but she can also say that she’s lived almost her entire life in North Snohomish County, from the time she grew up in the Stanwood/Bryant area.

“Her folks were homesteaders from Norway,” said Karen Abbott, Alice’s daughter. “She met Dad at one of the weekend dances at the grange, but they had a long courtship, about four or five years, because he wanted to save up enough money to care for her.”

When asked what initially drew her to Walter Spane, back when she was still Alice Nordby, Alice said, “He had this wonderful white scarf, and I thought, he’s the one for me,” she laughed.

Walter and Alice settled down on a 100-plus-acre dairy farm in Snohomish, and Alice recalled that the cows sold for good prices during World War II. While Walter continued his family’s tradition of farming, Alice not only kept cooking, as she’d done for other farmers when she was still single, but also kept Walter’s books, doing the income for the farm

“She was also a social butterfly,” Karen Abbott said. “She loved playing hostess for parties.”

“I loved to dance anytime,” said Alice Spane, who also kept physically active through her bowling league.

When Walter retired from the family farm in his 60s, he handed it over to Karen’s brother, while Walter and Alice enjoyed being snowbirds in Yuma, Ariz. Walter ultimately passed away at the age of 80, but Alice managed to live in her own condo until the age of 95, when she cracked her hip and became a resident of the Olympic Place Retirement Community in Arlington.

Alice has not only raised two children, but has also lived to see the births of four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. When asked about the secret to her longevity, her explanation differed from that of her daughter.

“She’s just a naturally happy person who’s still interested in the world,” Karen Abbott said.

“I’ve exercised a lot, between dancing and serving food and playing baseball when I was younger,” Alice Spane said. “I also eat a lot of potatoes.”

Alice Spane’s 100th birthday party will run from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at the Olympic Place Retirement Community, located at 20909 Olympic Place in Arlington. The community is invited to attend.

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