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Lifelong Columbia County woman turns 100

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Margaret Simons smiles in her apartment at Avamere in St. Helens. Simons celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday, Sept. 8. A lifelong Columbia County resident celebrated her 100th birthday last week, crossing over the rare centenarian mark and joining the ranks of two other local women this year.

Margaret Simons of St. Helens celebrated her birthday Thursday, Sept. 8, with numerous family and friends hosting a party for her at the St. Helens Elks Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Simons grew up in McNulty with a large family of 10 brothers and sisters in a house her parents, John and Anna Mattson, built. When she was a girl, she attended Warren Grade School, before attending Scappoose High School in her teen years.

After graduation, Simons worked at a bag factory in St. Helens and married Ed Simons in 1940. The couple had one son, Mark, who now lives in Seattle. Simons has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

During her youth, Simons played basketball on the high school varsity team and belonged to several bowling leagues in St. Helens. In her free time, she said she loved to garden, fish, camp, hunt and dig for clams with her husband.

Now, Simons enjoys exercising in her home at Avamere in St. Helens by going on walks and playing an indoor game called “noodle ball,” where players use foam bats to keep balloons from hitting the ground.

Although she can’t quite say what the secret to her long life has been, she said she was surprised to have lived so long. Simons attributes some of her joy to growing up in a large family, and added that she’s glad to still be active and mobile and able to walk on her own at the age of 100.

After her birthday, Simons said she doesn’t feel much different, but laughed and smiled when she said she feels “lucky to be alive.”