Oklahoma woman turning 110 reveals secret to a long life

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GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR/CNN) — The oldest living woman in Oklahoma is turning 110 later this month.

She’s actually only a little younger than Oklahoma itself, which gained statehood in 1907.

Ethel Bowens has lived through the sinking of the Titanic, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the dust bowl, and she’s not done.

She’s seen a lot, to say the least. After all that time, she has a lot to say about the secrets to longevity.

“Yeah I’m happy to be alive,” she said.

She was born in Guthrie just two years after statehood. The family lineage goes back before statehood to the land run of 1889. She and her husband Volna worked on the 160-acre farm.

“Chickens, ducks geese, turkeys, everything,” Bowens said. 

It took the couple 17 years before she and her husband Volna had their first of six children.

“We got started and couldn’t stop,” she said. Their last children were twins born in 1953. Bowens had a heart attack when she had them. Since then the woman’s family has gotten big —  really big.

“I don’t know. I can’t count them,” she said. 

Six children, 29 grandchildren, 54 great-grandchildren, 46 great-great-grandchildren, with more on the way.

And as many that can will be at her big birthday celebration this year, marking a major milestone.

Her secret to this long life is romantic: “One man,” she said. A school bus driver, farmer, and love of her life — married for more than 60 years.

“He was a good man and a good provider. He had to be to stay with me,” she said. 

Other keys to longevity: no smoking, no drinking and a faith in God.

And for those half her age who complain about waking up in the morning…

“I just think they’re lazy.  They don’t want to get up.” 

In case you weren’t counting, she has well over a hundred direct descendants from her marriage to her husband.


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