PHOENIX - A feisty, Valley great-grandmother is celebrating a milestone this week; Irene B. Chase is turning 100 years old and is spunkier than ever.
"You can't change me," Irene Chase smiled. "You might try, but you can't."
It's no wonder Irene's a tad bit stubborn, after all she's 100-years old and said she feels "great, just great."
She grew up on a farm, as an only child, and said she had the most perfect parents in the world.
"I had so many advantages and I've always wondered about how it would be to have grown up with siblings, but I had such a beautiful life being the only one, that I couldn't fault it one way or the other," she said fondly.
The former typing and shorthand teacher cherishes her centennial memories; including meeting President Roosevelt, serving 82 years as an Eastern Star and spending 10 years as a firewoman.
"I was the only woman in the fire crew," recalled Irene. "I didn't hold the hose but I was the medic."
In the fifth grade, Irene remembers needing a medic of her own while battling rheumatic fever.
"And he (the doctor) said, 'Bad news, she possibly might make it to junior high but not a day more,'" Irene remembered.
Try 32,120 days more.
"Here I am," Irene smiled brightly.
She's living a wonderful life as a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother -- and cougar?
"Something that doesn't usually happen to people when they get to be a century old...I have a very devoted and delightful boyfriend."
You rarely see Irene without her 82-year-old boyfriend "Joe" by her side, solving word puzzles at the Arizona Grand Senior Living Community in Phoenix.
So we asked Irene to unriddle the secret of living a very long, healthy life.
"If I'm not going to have fun I ain't going there," she giggled.
Irene's having plenty of that. When she's not spending time with Joe, she talks often to her adopted daughter, two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren whom all live in Reno, Nevada.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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