Grace Burnham celebrates 105th Birthday
Grace Burnham turned 105 years old this week, and nearly that many people came out to help her celebrate. Her birthday wish? To live another year, she said.
Burnham's party was held on Saturday, Nov. 18 upstairs at Cutsforth's Thriftway, her favorite color pink splattered everywhere. For the meal, her family served up some of her favorites from having grown up in Tennessee, like fried chicken, baked beans and more. Scott Goetchius and Lynne Bonnell played and sang hymns for her.
Her Canby family has been throwing a big bash for Grace at the town hall every year since her 100th birthday, each year handcrafting a new number over the last zero on her pink crown.
Burnham was born on Nov. 20, 1912, the same year the Titanic sank and Oreos were invented. She grew up on a farm in Tennessee and then moved to Oklahoma to attend Hughes Beauty Academy, where it cost her $50 for three months of schooling to become a beautician. To this day, Burnham styles her own hair each week.
"I do my hair all the time," Burnham said. "I cut my own hair, and I roll my own hair, but I've got somebody that gives me permanents."
Burnham met her longtime husband, Friend Robert Burnham, through a mutual friend. She had two boys: John who lives in Canby and Bob who lives in Mountain Home, Arkansas. When her husband passed away 19 years ago at the age of 93, Burnham moved to Canby, right next door to her son John and his wife Lynn, where she still lives independently.
Her long life may have partly to do with the fact that she literally wears rose-colored glasses, but she gives other tips for living long.
"No drinking, no doping, no smoking," Burnham said. "And drink Ovaltine, and drink 1 percent milk, and eat green vegetables and as much fruit as you can get down your stomach. And exercise most of all."
Burnham does all those things herself, including participating in the Sit and Be Fit class at the Adult Center.
"I took an exercise class with her, and I couldn't keep up with her," said Daniel Sunde, a friend from the center.
Burnham is surrounded by people who love her. Next door, she has a supportive family in John and Lynn, and their grown children Amber, Amy and John. They welcome her to dinner nearly every night. She also has Julie Winklebleck for companionship and help with meals and cleaning, and she has many pals from the Canby Adult Center, where she visits twice a week.
"Kudos to the Canby Adult Center people because they come and they pick her up twice a week every week, and they are just so wonderful with her," said Burnham's granddaughter Amy Burnham.
"Longevity is about connection." -Amy BurnhamAmy Burnham attributes her grandma's long life, in part, to the relationships that she has developed and maintained over the years.
"Longevity is about connection," Amy Burnham said. "We all need connection and a purpose. She feels a purpose when she's expecting somebody to pick her up to go to the adult center, when she's expecting to come over for dinner that night…I think having a purpose matters."
Burnham does look forward to visiting the Adult Center, and one of her favorite parts about it is offering wisdom to her friends there.
"I give advice," she said.
One tidbit she offered to a friend at the center just might be yet another key to a long life.
"Don't talk about your sickness," she said. "You'll always be sick. Don't you do it. Get busy and do something. Quit thinking about your sickness."
When bellies were full, advice had been given and the party was coming to an end, Burnham was inviting folks to next year's bash.
The best part about this year's party?
"All the people," she said.
More photos from Burnham's 105th birthday celebration: