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Mary Jane Case fetes 100th birthday

Mary Jane Case is flanked by her sons — from left, Brian, Dean and Bill — on her 100th birthday. - Kirk Boxleitner
Mary Jane Case is flanked by her sons — from left, Brian, Dean and Bill — on her 100th birthday.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Olympic Place was bustling with activity as the friends and family of Mary Jane Case helped her celebrate her 100th birthday on Sunday, May 4.

As much as Mary Jane apologized for details of the past that she’d forgotten, all those who spoke with her agreed how impressive it was that she still remembered so much, from the affectionate minutiae of her 63-year marriage to Gene Townsend Case, whom she met when she was still Mary Jane Taft of the Seattle Taft family, to the burgeoning families of her three sons — Dean, Brian and Bill — each of whom had two children and three grandchildren, with Bill also boasting one great-grandchild, thereby making Mary Jane a great-great-grandmother.

“All my sons were blessed to have married such lovely women,” said Mary Jane Case, who credited her husband Gene with giving them a an excellent example of fatherhood to emulate. “I went to high school with his sister, and when I told my mother that I’d love it if that Gene Case were to ask me out, the phone rang. We went out all spring and summer, but he spent most of that time talking to my father, so I wondered when he’d ask me on a real date,” she laughed.

Although Gene was a successful banker in the big city, he took up mink farming in the country from the father of one of his customers, which Mary Jane appreciated because it allowed their boys to grow up on “quite a spread” of land, on which Gene and the boys even installed a swimming pool, that they shared with the surrounding community.

“I grew up in a more controlled environment, but I think kids today are more educated and informed, about the world and about life, than I was when I was young,” said Mary Jane Case, who credited her longevity to staying physically and mentally active. “I feel fortunate, and the best advice I could give would be to think positively. I had a wonderful partner whom our boys loved, and he taught them all how to be gentlemen. I’ve got nothing but good memories.”

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