3 Mesa seniors, 302 years among them The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

3 Mesa seniors, 302 years among them

3 Mesa seniors, 302 years among them


Three residents of Broadway Mesa Village A Senior Living are celebrating birthdays totaling 302 years.

Vivian Bickford and Sophie Steitz and are both turning 102 years old tomorrow and Sept. 9, respectively, Richard Anderson has a little ctaching up to do: He turned 98 on Aug. 27.

“Not many can say they are starting their terrible 2s again,” joked Teresa Hadley, enrichment director at Broadway Mesa Village.

Probably like her first “terrible 2,” Vivian is a ball of energy.

“She zooms through our halls with cane in hand, stopping from time to time to visit and encourage people to come to activities,” Hadley said. “She tries to come to everything we offer, even if she feels she isn’t good at it.

Hadley said during exercises, “I marvel at how far she can get her knee up to her chin. Whatever the task is, she tries to double it, outdo it, and conquer it.”

Added Vivian: “I start my day out with a full cup of water and then off I go.”

Hadley said Vivian’s “biggest passion is following Christ” and that “she would love it if more people came to Bible Study and worship services.”

Sophie is the third oldest of 12 children and she and her baby sister are the only surviving members of that brood.

But she hasn’t forgotten growing up in a household filled with children.

“Sweet Sophie has a heart of gold,” said Hadley. “When she speaks about her young years, she remembers being the first one up in the morning to start the fire to get the house warm. Washing clothes on a wash board, hanging them on the line to dry, then that huge job of ironing were chores she remembers doing.”

Sophie too doesn’t act her age – or rather how one might think someone her age would be able to act.

Though she has some sight issues, Hadley said, “it doesn’t stop her from regularly playing horse races, Bingo and Word Explosion – some of her favorite Broadway Mesa Village activities.”

A veteran who served aboard the USS Indianapolis in WWII, which delivered the parts for the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima, Richard “is very good with his hands” who builds intricate models of naval ships and planes. 

“He’s coming to our calligraphy classes to learn a new skill at 98,” Hadley added. “Whenever you visit Richard, he’s always got a treat to share. Sometimes it’s a piece of apple pie he’s made from his family’s secret recipe. He’s very patient and shows this quality most when he’s teaching someone how to play pool.

“With a wink and a smile, he’ll slip you a witty joke once in a while. If you can get him to tell you, he has one of the most interesting stories about his naval experience with the Indianapolis.  Richard is well liked and a special member of our Broadway Mesa Village family.” ′

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