100-year-old Primrose resident enjoys walking, volunteering

First Posted: 4/25/2014

LIMA — In 1914, Woodrow Wilson was beginning his second year as president. The British House of Lords rejected women’s suffrage. Babe Ruth played in his first professional baseball game. There was the beginning of a little historical event known as World War I.

In that same year, Primrose Retirement Community resident Jay Sain was born in Idaho, the second of eight children. Primrose held a party Friday in her honor. Her actual birthday is Sunday.

Since moving to Lima, Sain has kept busy. Even now, she continues to volunteer two days a week at St. Charles School.

“Those little kids make you happy,” she said. “I load the dishwasher because I can’t see too good to see the dirt.”

Jason Risner, sales director for Primrose, noted in a statement that Sain also keeps busy in other ways.

“Jay enjoys caring for her flowers, traveling to various states to visit family members and dining out with her many friends and her son-in-law and his wife,” he said.

Kenney added, “It’s nothing for her to jump into a plane to go see people. She flies alone, and she does a lot of other things on her own.”

Sain has been able to stay in very good shape throughout the years, as well, even surviving a bout with breast cancer.

“I just keep going,” she said. “I like to walk. I walk about a mile every day unless it gets to be winter, and then I don’t. But I can exercise here.”

Sain’s longevity may be a family trait. Her father lived for many years also, while her mother died at a young age.

“My dad used to come visit us, and he was in his 80s,” she said. “My mother died when at 52. She had eight kids, one after another.”

After growing up out west, Sain moved to Michigan’s upper peninsula.

“I married a guy from up by Marquette,” she said. “It was 1944 when we got married. He farmed and after that, he quit that and took care of the scales in a copper mine.”

Sain’s son-in-law, Ray Kenney, added, “Her husband died in 1992, and we didn’t want to leave her so far away. The kids were in school, and she got to see the grandchildren grow up. She lived right with us in the same house. We lost her daughter to cancer in 2006.”

Losing her daughter was tough for Sain, but she is thankful to have other family around.

“Since my daughter passed away, it’s not the same,” she said. “But I’ve got two granddaughters, and they’ve been really good to me. The one has a little boy named Austin. He’s about 11 months old. They make me happy.”

Sain’s relationship with her son-in-law has also remained close.

“We always joke around about the mother-in-law jokes,” he said. “But she breaks that stereotype.”

When asked about her secret to longevity, Sain had a couple of ideas.

“Be honest. That’s the main thing,” she said. “I also like people. I worked in merchandising for years, and I think that helped me stay young. I like people.”

A smiling Kenney, however, had another idea.

“Orneriness,” he said.

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