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Ruth Jones celebrates her 100th birthday

Beaverton woman enjoys life but is 'not with' today's smartphones

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Ruth Jones celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at the Beaverton Lodge.Ruth Jones said she’s never met anyone who lived to be 100, and frankly, she didn’t give much thought about reaching a triple-digit age herself.

At least she didn’t until recently, when she got a congratulatory letter from President Obama and the First Lady.

“I couldn’t read his handwriting,” she said with a chuckle, “but Michelle’s was perfect.”

Jones celebrated her own 100th birthday on Sunday with a party at Beaverton Lodge, a retirement center where she moved eight years ago after living for more than six decades on Sylvan Hill.

Ruth Louise Wood Jones was born Aug. 2, 1915, and moved from small-town Kansas to Oregon when she was just 6 years old. This was during the early 1920s, years before the Great Depression and a generation before World War II.

She doesn’t remember the drive to Oregon with her parents and grandparents very well, other than the fact that it stretched over a long period in the days before the federal highway system came into being. That and that she and her sister had to trade off sitting on a board between the two front seats because the car only had five seats.

Her family settled in Northeast Portland, where she lived until her 20s.

“We couldn’t afford college,” she said. “I had a scholarship but we couldn’t even afford the books. It was right in the Depression so I went to night school.”

In fact, she met her future husband — Paul Jones — in a math class. They soon bought a modest house in the hills of Portland and raised two daughters, both of whom attended Beaverton-area schools.

While her husband was a pattern-maker for Electric Steel, including helping the war effort, Jones managed the home and was a longtime hand-weaver who still spins some yarn now and then. These days, however, she spends more time enjoying games and other planned activities at Beaverton Lodge, tucked into the Central Beaverton neighborhood just a few blocks south of Beaverton High School.

“Everybody’s friendly,” she said, “like one big family.”

Jones said she doesn’t know any deep secrets to living a long life; she attributes hers largely to luck, but she did suggest eating and living sensibly - washed down with an occasional cocktail.

Jones, who has four grand-children and seven great-grandchildren, marvels at how much has changed through the years.

“The thing that still amazes me is all these people going around with something in their hand going like this,” she said, acting like she’s texting on a smartphone. “I’m not with that at all.”