On April 16, Doris Gilbreath partied like it was 1918.
The celebration was in honor of her 100th birthday, commemorating a life, a century in the making.
“It would take a long time to hear all her stories,” said her daughter-in-law Donna Huntley.
Donned in a new red shirt and necklace, Gilbreath shared a surprise lunch at the Mullis Community Center with three of her four children and Huntley. Friends took turns greeting the Idaho native, who smiled and hugged each passerby.
A century ago, Gilbreath was born in a house among the sagebrush of Idaho in what she called “an itty-bitty, one-horse town.” By the 1960s, she moved to the San Juans and today, lives with her son Jay Hall.
“I’m taking care of mom or she’s taking care of me, I don’t know,” he joked.
Gilbreath doesn’t let a century behind her slow her down. Huntley said she still jitterbugs when Gilbreath visits her son Jim and herself in Idaho.
“When she was younger, she would clear the floor,” said Huntley.
There was even a rumor at lunch that Gilbreath once drove a 1949 Ford in a California drag race.
Today, Gilbreath’s pleasures are simpler. When asked what her favorite activity is she said, “Being with my family. You can’t beat that with a stick.”
Of course, not all family.
“I don’t have a husband,” she added. “Thank god.”
On April 16, Gilbreath dined on a birthday feast of pork loin and mashed potatoes, leaving a personalized carrot cake for later at home. She even made sure to wear what she calls her “fancy pants” — jeans with bedazzled flowers down the sides.
The family planned a dinner the next day; a continued celebration of a century of adoration.
“She always did everything for us kids,” said her daughter Lois Brashear of San Juan. “I love my mother.”
Check the Journal next April for Gilbreath’s next birthday celebration.