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Margaret Pearson is still cruisin at 100

The centenarian says, even though she got her driver's license renewed she doesn't plan any trips to California
by: Barbara Sherman, STILL DRIVIN’ AFTER ALL THESE YEARS – Margaret Pearson, who turns 100 today, just got her driver’s license renewed so she can drive her 1989 Chevrolet Classic Capri “that looks like a Cadillac” around Summerfield.

TIGARD - Don't challenge Margaret Pearson to a drag race - she just might beat you.

Pearson turned 100 years old March 6, and when she isn't on her computer, you might see her driving her gray 1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic around the area.

'It looks like a Cadillac,' Pearson said. 'It has 50,000 miles on it. It's been to Nebraska a couple of times. It's a beautiful car. I get a lot of compliments on it. You'll notice there aren't any dents in it.'

And by the way, Pearson got her driver's license renewed on Valentine's Day for another eight years.

Pearson lives independently, enjoys frequent visits from her daughter and son-in-law Yvonne and George Burgess.

Through her genealogy search, Pearson, who has traced her ancestry back to colonial days in this country and before that to Canada and Europe, learned that longevity runs far back in her family.

'I have relatives who lived to be 96 at the time of the Revolutionary War,' Pearson said.

Pearson was born in Elm Creek, Neb., where her great-grandfather first homesteaded.

She recalled seeing her first automobile when she was 5 years old.

'I heard a great big chug-chug and saw this car with a great big front seat and a box on the back where the driver's wife and daughter were sitting,' she said. 'When he turned the corner, he yelled, 'Hang on, Ma.''

In 1917, Pearson's dad purchased his first automobile, a Chevrolet.

'They called them 90-day cars, because they only lasted that long,' said Pearson.

One day when she was in school, administrators let the students go outside to see the famous aviator Charles Lindberg fly overheard.

'When Harding was President, he was poisoned in California,' Pearson said. 'My dad got us up to watch the funeral procession carrying his body back East.'

Pearson earned her teacher's certificate, taught for a while and then married her husband, Milford.

While on a trip West, Pearson, who had arthritis, noticed that it cleared up when they passed through Wyoming.

For that reason, the couple moved to Idaho and then to Portland, where Milford worked as a longshoreman until he retired.

'During the war, I took an engineering course and drew plans for about three houses,' Pearson said.

The Pearsons built a house and moved to Tigard in 1946, and Pearson worked in a department store - Eickmeyer's - on Main Street. 'I wanted to be around people,' she said.

The couple moved to Summerfield 35 years ago into one of the first houses built in that new subdivision.

'There were only a few of us, and you knew everybody,' Pearson said.

After 63 years of marriage, Milford died in 1995. The couple had two children and three grandchildren, and now there are six great-grandchildren ranging in age from 2½ to 25 years old.

As for renewing her driver's license, the father-in-law of a relative of Pearson's got his renewed when he was 101, 'so I thought I would try it,' she said. 'I passed the eye test. I drive to the store and beauty parlor. I don't take any trips to California...'

Like her grandfather, who joined a grange in the 1880s, Pearson has been a member of the Tigard Grange for 55 years.

In addition to a private party hosted by George and Yvonne, the Tigard Grange is holding a birthday party for Pearson following its meeting Saturday, March 8, at 10 a.m.

Members of other granges are invited to attend, but the meeting is not open to the public.

'You have to live to 100 to get important,' Pearson said.