Editor’s note: Virginia Barrow died Feb. 15 at the age of 107 – likely the oldest person in the Marysville-Arlington area. Following is a story we published June 11, 2016 for her 105th birthday party. Starting March 2, we will be running death notices in the Marysville Globe and Arlington Times for people from Marysville, Arlington, Lakewood and Tulalip.
MARYSVILLE – William Howard Taft was president when Virginia Barrow was born a few years before World War I.
That is not a typo, World War I.
Barrow turned 105 Sunday. She was born June 5, 1911.
Still quick-witted, when someone said they had never met anyone 105-years-old, “Ginger” said, “I’d never met one either.”
Ginger is the last-surviving sibling out of 12. She said they all lived into their 90s.
“There must be some good genes in that family,” said Doug Williams, singer-songwriter who entertained for her birthday party at Grandview Village.
He performed, “My Girl,” “Hey, Good Lookin’” and other favorites, along with, of course, “Happy Birthday.”
Ginger moved to the Everett area from Marysville, Mo., when she was 6-months-old and has been here ever since.
Her children, Claudia McTee, 79, and Keith Barrow, 76, said Virginia was a stay-at-home mom except for a short stint at a beauty salon. Along with her two children she has four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
“She loved to entertain,” Claudia said. “She was very opinionated – told it like it was.”
And she still does.
They had a small circle of friends from the Elks and yacht clubs that they liked to go camping and hunting with, her kids said. They also liked going to Mexico, and they wintered in Mesa, AZ.
Keith said his mom wasn’t strict. He would leave the house at 8 a.m., and she would tell him to be home by 5 p.m. for dinner.
Both said she always wants them to call her when they got home safe. “Even now,” Keith said.
Their dad, Clyde, graduated, as they did, from Washington State University. He owned a construction company. Clyde, who was married to Ginger 61 years, died when he was 84 in 1994. But she continued to live at the family home until she was about 100. Her kids said she stacked wood for the fireplace there. “I miss the house,” she said.
Ginger said she hasn’t done anything intentionally to live a long life. “I try to eat well,” she said.
“Not well enough at times,” her daughter teased.
She also kept her mind active, doing things like playing cards. “She’s got very little wrong with her” from a health standpoint, Claudia said.
Barrow said she just started using a walker, and wears hearing aids and glasses. “I like the TV, but I can’t see it too well,” she said.
“I enjoy life, and I like people. And I try to take care of myself all the time,” she said.