Local veteran celebrates 102nd birthday

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A special birthday party happened this afternoon for one Navy veteran on our Coast.

“I don’t feel like I’m 102, that’s a big number. I feel great.” Marion Ritchie was born in 1917 and served as a Navy Yeoman’s Captain on the shorelines during World War II, but now Ms. Ritchie is getting to celebrate her 102nd birthday with those memories held tight. “They are all good memories. At 102, I think I’m very lucky.”

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At her home in the Armed Forces Retirement Home, friends and four generations of her family surprised her with a huge happy birthday. “I’m happy. My family’s here, that’s the best part.”

Eric Keffer, Ms. Ritchie’s grandson, was among those family members she hugged close. “She went through a lot of challenges being a woman in the military, that it is hard for this generation to comprehend and seeing that with anyone that has ever met her makes them extremely proud. What she has gone through in her lifetime, people can’t imagine. Through the Great Depression, through the Dust Bowl, through World War I, through World War II to where she is now.”

One hundred and two and full of life, her secret? She says it is happiness. “Enjoy. That’s basically it. If you don’t like what you’re doing then do something else.”