Oak Harbor woman hits 100

Ione Stanwick celebrates her 100th anniversary with a big piece of chocolate cake. - Ken George
Ione Stanwick celebrates her 100th anniversary with a big piece of chocolate cake.
— image credit: Ken George

After having lunch with the mayor, Ione Stanwick had her pick of two birthday cakes to dig into. Not a bad way to celebrate one’s 100th birthday.

Stanwick turned 100 on Thursday, Nov. 1, an occasion for which she was properly feted by her home in recent years, Oak Harbor’s Summer Hill Retirement and Assisted Living Community.

She held court around a round dining room table, with the mayor on her right hand and a photographer scurrying around to find just the right angle. His subject was especially photogenic: impeccably dressed, her naturally curly hair perfectly coiffed and a smile always at the ready.

Mayor Patty Cohen was particularly impressed by Stanwick’s curly hair, but she shrugged off the compliment. “Oh, I don’t do much with it,” she said.

Stanwick described herself as a person who led a “very simple life.” She was born Nov. 1, 1901 in Nebraska, one of eight children born to Andrew Bobbit and Melissa Happ. She said some of her five brothers and two sisters are still alive.

The family moved to Idaho where she finished her schooling. She met her future husband when she was working as a waitress in an athletic tea room in Spokane. They had two girls and one boy. Her husband worked for the railroad and she continued to work until retirement.

Stanwick said she moved to Whidbey Island because “I like it here,” and her children are “scattered around” the area. They are coming this weekend help celebrate her 100th birthday.

At 100, she doesn’t have many activities, although she enjoys talking and watching TV. But not so much lately with all the news about terrorism. “That’s all there is,” she complained.

Stanwick expressed no surprise at having lived so long. “It runs in the family,” she said. Mayor Cohen assured her that she looks wonderful and is likely to “make it to 110.”

Stanwick attributes her longevity to the good habits instilled by her mother, who was against drinking and smoking.

Her advise to young people is as succinct and credible today as it was nearly 100 years ago when her mother first gave it to her.

“Behave yourself,” she said.

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