From Atwell to Keizer in 105 years 

Irene Jones as she pensively thinks back on her century-long life

Irene Jones of Keizer is in a rare club: Americans who are 105 years of age or older. 

According to Census data in 2020, Oregon had 149 people who had attained that age. 

Jones was born August 16, 1918 in Atwell, Tex., a small farming community between Abilene and Fort Worth. Her parents were Luther Jones and Petra Raa Jones. 

Today Irene is a resident of Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community in north Keizer. 

Her early years were spent in Porterville, Calif., before the family relocated to Oregon including sisters Joyce and Evelin, both who have passed on. 

The family lived on a farm in Molalla. She attended Woodburn High School; she did not attend college. 

After marrying Emory, the couple established themselves on an onion farm in the Lake Labish where Irene performed all the chores and tasks of a farm. There she and Emory raised their daughter, Patricia. 

Irene has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren including a newborn. 

In the century she has lived, the centenarian has seen a lot of technological progress. She is still amazed by airplanes and automobiles. Cars today are more advanced than her first vehicle, a Model A Ford she drove down the dusty roads of rural Clackamas County. 

The first person Irene voted for in a presidential election was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. 

Irene doesn’t travel as much these days as when she and her husband trained across Canada several times and visited Norway, the land of her ancestors. 

A value she has held since she was younger is honesty. “Be honest with yourself and everyone else,” she said. 

As for those who want to live to 100 years or older, Irene’s advice is simple: “Do what is right and do the best you can.” 

Good words to live by. 

Contact Publisher Lyndon Zaitz:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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