There’s no shortcuts to reaching 107 years old, according to a woman who knows.
“I don’t think hard work ever hurt me,” said Lottie Flint, when asked what the secret is to breezing by the century mark. “I did a lot of it. I enjoy working outside.”
Flint turns 107 on Tuesday. William Howard Taft was a lame duck president when she was born in 1913, having lost to Woodrow Wilson in the previous year’s election (which also included Theodore Roosevelt). The Titanic sank less than a year earlier, and World War I didn’t begin for another year.
But all that was a long way from where Flint was born in Three Forks, Montana. There was no bus to take her the mile to and from her school.
“Sometimes, I rode horseback, but it was too much bother to go get the horse, so I walked most of the time,” she recalled.
Along with her two brothers and four sisters, Flint grew hay on their farm. And, in those days, that meant manual labor.
“We had work to do, and we didn’t have all the equipment you have now to do things with,” she said. “We didn’t have a car for a while.”
Travel in those days meant taking the train, which Flint did many times to get to Bozeman.
In 1932, she married Russell T. Flint, who she remained wedded to for 79 years until Russell’s death in 2011.
They had three children — Fred Flint, now 86, of Pony, Montana; Jo Copenhaver, 84, of Redmond; and Charlotte Holland, 76, of Canby.
Lottie Flint was primarily a homemaker while her husband worked several jobs, including for the Milwaukee Railroad. They lived in a one-room cabin for seven years when Russell worked in a mining camp during the Great Depression. During World War II, they lived in Bremerton, Washington, where Russell worked in a shipyard.
Russell also worked for the Bonneville Power Administration, first in Montana before the job brought them to Redmond in 1958. Lottie has lived in Redmond, a city that wasn’t even three years old when she was born, ever since. She’s watched it grow from a town of around 3,000 people when she moved to Central Oregon to more than 30,000 people today.
Lottie Flint’s secret to a long marriage is simple, and is similar to her advice for a long life.
“You just try to get along and work,” she said. “We both worked all the time, some kind of a job, and it paid off. You can get by with less if you have to.”
Lottie Flint worked for a while as a caregiver in a nursing home early in her time in Redmond. She has enjoyed living in Oregon.
“I’m lucky to have my kids close by, and they come to see me,” she said. “It means a lot.
Along with work, Flint’s children say a positive attitude has helped with their mother’s longevity.
“Tomorrow will be better,” Holland said is one of her mother’s favorite sayings.
“And age is just a number,” Copenhaver added.
Flint now has six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
The Country Canyon Adult Care home, where she’s lived for the last year, plans a birthday celebration with Flint’s favorite meal and cake.
Flint’s children say people have a hard time believing it when they say their mother is nearly 107.
“ ‘That’s amazing,’ is what they usually say,” Holland said.