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Lockhart celebrates 102nd birthday
ARLINGTON She was born in Ireland Jan. 28, 1906, and on Jan. 27, 2008, Anna Lockhart celebrated her 102nd birthday one day early, at the Cascade Valley Senior Living Center in Arlington.
Lockhart made the voyage from Ireland to America when she was in her 20s, to join her sister who had moved to New York. That was where she met and married her husband in her 30s, and where she started working as a nurse. That profession marked the beginning of a lifelong career in caring for others.
Shes done lots of volunteer work in her life, said Lockharts daughter, Maureen Depuy, who lives in Marysville. Shes worked in nursing homes and with shut-ins. Shes taken care of the sick and the blind. Shes a very devout Catholic.
Father Jim Dalton agreed with Depuy, since he named her the official matriarch of the Immaculate Conception Church in Arlington a couple of years ago. Lockhart scheduled her birthday party for the Sunday before her birthday so that Dalton could attend and he arrived dressed for the occasion, in a tuxedo and top hat.
So where were you last night? Lockhart laughed, sizing up his outfit.
After everyone had joined her in laughter, Dalton gave her Mardi Gras beads, for the upcoming holiday and brought a singing, skiing Irish Santa doll that shed enjoyed before.
The great thing about Anna is that she always talks to everyone, Dalton said. Theres not a person shes talked to who hasnt become her friend.
Dalton and Depuy both noted that Lockharts volunteerism has been almost as long-lived as the woman herself. After her husband died, when they were in their 60s, Lockhart moved to Colorado and lived there until seven years ago, often caring for elderly people who were younger than she was.
She was working in nursing homes, four and five days a week, until she was 95, Depuy said. I think it helps that shes always stayed active, mentally and physically. She walks a lot and always reads the newspaper, even with her eye problems. Ive always admired her enthusiastic attitude.
In addition to her daughter, Lockhart has had a son (since deceased), two grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and she continues to surprise them.
When she turned 100, we flew all her friends from Colorado up here, Depuy said. We didnt realize shed have more birthdays. My husband and I moved her out here, but she was living on her own until last year. Shes probably in better health than me!
When asked how shes managed to keep going so strong for so long, Lockharts answer is simple.
I dont know, Lockhart said. I just pray every day.