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Centenarian celebrates milestone birthday

Posted: Tuesday, Mar 5th, 2013

Alice Moffat enjoys slicing her birthday cake while wearing a crown on her 100th birthday Tuesday at Valley Convalescent and Rehabilitation while Rosa Silveira, also 100, looks on. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — Alice Moffat was born on March 5, 1913, the year the nation’s first transcontinental road was completed. Known as the Lincoln Highway, it stretched from Times Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. It was the same year Henry Ford opened the nation’s first conveyor belt assembly line for automobiles in Detroit.

She was also born during the Woodrow Wilson administration, and has since seen 16 presidents take residency in the White House.

On Tuesday, she celebrated her 100th birthday with her friends at Valley Convalescent Hospital, where she is a resident. Among these friends was Rosa Silveira, herself a centenarian who turned 100 in January. As the festivities took place amidst a large cake and greetings from several well-wishers, Moffat talked about her feelings about reaching the milestone.

“I’m doing fine,” she said. “I don’t feel 100.”

Moffat was born in Kimberly, Idaho, a small, agricultural town in the southern part of the state. She said the rural upbringing gave her an appreciation for hard work.

“I was born on a farm and worked hard,” she said. “I stacked hay and did all kinds of things.”

Moffat was born with wanderlust, with travels that took her to South America and Africa, and “everywhere but England,” she said.

She listed her favorite country as the U.S., where she travelled extensively.

She met her husband while working at the 1939 World Fair in San Francisco, where she sold donuts.

She is also a self-described dumpster seamstress who would rescue scraps of cloth meant for the dustbin and turn them into fashionable clothes.

She spent most of her career working as a bookkeeper for the City of St. Petersburg, Fla., but said she did “a little bit of everything” since then.

“Been there, done that,” she said.

When asked for her advice for young people, Moffat was quick to respond.

“Take advantage of every opportunity that comes along, and try anything,” she said.

Moffat’s friend Barbara Davis said the centenarian kept an extensive, typewritten journal of her life.

Davis traveled to Hawaii with Moffat when Moffat was 73 and Davis was 53. The trip was a glimpse into Moffat’s passion for living, Davis said.

“I couldn’t keep up with her,” she said. “She’s a unique woman. She’s had a very interesting life.”

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