CLAREMORE, Okla. — On Wednesday, Claremore celebrated Jessie Ligenfelter for her 105th birthday.
She was born in 1914, seven years after Oklahoma became a state and only six years after Ford produced the first Model T.
Ligenfelter even got a birthday card from the White House. She told FOX23 she didn’t think the president even knew who she was. She wasn’t afraid to say she’s been a lifelong Democrat in a very red state.
“I feel just the same as I did yesterday,” she told FOX23.
The sixth of seven daughters, Ligenfelter grew up on a large farm. She called her parents incredible and said she has wonderful memories from childhood.
“We made our own games and had a lot of fun.”
When she was 15, back in 1929, Jessie and her sisters went to Pryor, where they rented a room and went to high school. They would go back to the farm on weekends.
“In those days it was because the other kids in the country didn’t go. My mother was bound and determined that we were going to go to high school and finish,” she said.
Ligenfelter’s three children and six grandchildren joined her for the birthday party on Wednesday. She said that raising her kids was the most important job for her.
“I didn’t go to work during the war. I stayed home with them.”
She and her husband later owned and operated a service station in Claremore for 40 years. Ralph, her husband, died in 1971.
She said her most difficult adjustment happened five years ago when she turned 100.
“The boys wanted me to sell my home and said I didn’t need to live alone. So, I sold it and that liked to have killed me. But I sold it,” she said.
Jessie has adjusted to life at the assisted living facility she now calls home. She enjoys bingo and other activities.
“One time we had a race and I won the race,” she said.
She also wants to let everyone know that she doesn’t need a walker, but they make her use one anyway.
“I’m still here and I hope to stay a few years yet.”
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