ST. GEORGE — They fought and survived six large-scale wars, the Great Depression and 13 recessions, and now two global pandemics. Utah’s most resilient citizens who are 100 years and older were recently honored by a declaration from Gov. Gary Herbert.
With the declaration, the state welcomes 30 new members to “The 2020 Governor’s Century Club of Utah,” which he calls “Utah’s most exclusive club.” As of Dec. 10, Utah has a total of 159 known citizens ranging from 100 years to its most senior members, Lilian Jones of Salt Lake City and Ted Wells of Orem, who are both 110.
Among the those in this exclusive club, more than a dozen hail from Southern Utah counties, including 11 in Washington County, one in Beaver County and one in Piute County.
One of the oldest women in the state is a Southern Utah resident — 108-year-old Hurricane resident Betty Mendoza, born in April 1912.
The 100-plus club also includes a World War II veteran who lives in Southern Utah — 105-year-old Glenn Osborne of Milford.
At age 27 in 1942, Osborne was drafted in the Army Air Corps. In the service, he went to mechanic school at Shepherd Field Texas and Chevrolet Pratt and Whitney School in Detroit. He trained airplane crews to replace those who were lost on their missions. He served over three years working on B17s and B24s.
For their health and safety, centenarians were unable to gather during the pandemic for the annual celebration. In a letter to each centenarian, Gov. Gary Herbert said, “Thank you for your personal contributions to our state’s history and for the wisdom you continue to share with us.”
Facts about Utah’s 2020 Centenarians
- Witnessed changes in history, including widespread indoor plumbing and electricity, radio and television, and production of the automobile and airplane.
- 119 are female; 48 are male.
- Live in 15 of the state’s counties.
- 24 are World War II veterans.
- Utah is projected to have 1,400 centenarians by 2050.
For more the life stories about Utah’s 2020 centenarians, visit daas.utah.gov/centenarians.
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