Dorothy Cooper became a widow in 1943 when her husband, Charles, died. She never remarried, she said, because she 'couldn't find a guy who wanted to work.'
For Dorothy Cooper, May 2 was a fine day. It was her 100th birthday.
She celebrated with cake and enjoyed the company of friends and family, including a niece who made the trip from San Antonio with her husband just to celebrate the special occasion.
The centenarian still lives independently in her beloved Point Place home and drives her 1977 Chevrolet Impala with 75,000 miles on the odometer. "I wash it myself," she adds.
Mrs. Cooper married young, at 18, and became a widow in 1943, when her husband, Charles, died after he was honorably discharged from the wartime Army, which awarded him a Bronze Star for his service in Europe. She won't discuss his death, but does recall that last December "would have been our 81st anniversary."
She never remarried, she said, because "I couldn't find a guy who wanted to work." She herself worked for the Internal Revenue Service -- "I counted" -- for 25 years, she said.
Mrs. Cooper said she was born in Chicago and grew up in Sioux Lookout, Ont., where she still has relatives. Most of her life, however, has been spent in Toledo, in Point Place, to be specific.
Her niece, Sharine Jani, drove from San Antonio with her husband, Anton, to keep a pledge made four years ago.
Birthday cards and photographs of Mrs. Cooper from decades past were set up for the birthday celebration.
"We told her if she made it to 100, we'd come up," she explained.
Said Mrs. Cooper, "I was surprised and floored. I never expected it."
The Point Place home is as neat as a pin, and birthday cards and photographs of Mrs. Cooper from decades past were set out for the celebration.
Mrs. Jani said Mrs. Cooper did all her own cleaning and even painted the basement by herself a few years ago.
"A friend who visited asked who her housekeeper was. She wanted to hire her," Mrs. Jani said.
Bonnie Wilczynski, a close friend of Mrs. Cooper's, said the centenarian enjoys being outdoors when the weather is good. Mrs. Cooper, whose hearing is not what it used to be, caught this comment and said, "I have a chair by the back steps."