Consider this: When the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, catapulting America into World War II: she was already 38 years old.
When Americans mourned the death of a young president cut down by an assassin’s bullet in the fall of ‘63: She had already lived six decades.
And as the world turned the clock to a new millennium in the year 2000: She had already reached 97 years of age.
But as Ms. Linnie Belle Currie Holland Thuesen, a long time San Antonian easily steps out of the car - greeted by family, friends and a special dignitary on this day in April, you’d never suspect the milestone event they’re all here to celebrate:
Ms. Thuesen’s 107th birthday.
“I‘m so proud that I‘ve lived this long, but you know it‘s hard. I still live by myself and own my own home” Thuesen greets the crowd.
As she makes it to the back of the car she pauses - flashing a bright, infectious smile. Ms. Thuesen now realizes this occasion has attracted more than family and friends as she locks eyes with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who’s got a special proclamation ready in hand.
“The Mayor and City Council are honored to have the opportunity to join family and friends in this memorable occasion. We further extend sincere best wishes to you and many more happy years, happy birthday!” says Mayor Castro.
Born April 11, 1903 in Rusk, Texas - this great-great-great grandmother had already called many places home before finally settling in San Antonio seventy-six years ago.
“I remember I was very small, so I’m thinking it was about 1935 when they came to San Antonio” recalls Thuesen’s daughter.
Just how many relatives make up her family? You might imagine the challenge of trying to tally up such a figure. “I think there’s 21 grand children, great grand children and great-great grand children. I don’t remember what number we finally came up with, but it’s a bunch.” Thuesen’s son laughs.
Not only does she live by herself - she even managed to drive her own car up until a couple years ago according to Ms. Thuesen‘s insurance agent. “she’d drive right up to my office and drop off her payment, a lady that’s 100 years old!”
And when asked the inevitable question - what’s her secret to life? It might have been best answered by her children.
“She’s outlived two husbands. She doesn’t want to have anyone living with her and I think it keeps her mind alert, keeps her more agile” Thuesen’s daughter says. “If she’s happy where she is, let her be happy. After 107 years, she can pretty much do whatever she wants to do.” her son says.
And as the final note of happy birthday is sung and this beloved San Antonio great-great-great grandmother blows out the last candle:
“This is the best birthday party I have ever had, and I’m very, very grateful for it. I thank you.”
A look back at 1903: The year Ms. Thuesen was born:
-First automobile trip across the US from San Francisco to New York
-"Wizard of Oz" premiers in NYC
-First sustained motorized aircraft flight by Orville Wright
-Wright brothers obtain airplane patent
-World's 1st teddy bear
-Ford Motor Company founded and incorporated
Other births that year:
-Lawrence Welk, American TV Musician (1992)
-Benjamin Spock, pediatrician (1998)
-Bing Crosby, singer & actor (1977)
-Bob Hope, comedian & actor (2003)
-Lou Gehrig, baseball player (1941)
-Roy Acuff, country musician (1992)