Ruth Leslie shares a moment with great-grandchildren Justine Tilley, 11, left, and Oliver Tilley, 8, during her 102nd birthday party Sunday at Merrill Gardens in Auburn. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Ruth Leslie shares a moment with great-grandchildren Justine Tilley, 11, left, and Oliver Tilley, 8, during her 102nd birthday party Sunday at Merrill Gardens in Auburn. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

‘I’ve had a good life’ – Auburnite Leslie turns 102

  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019 11:05am
  • News

From humble beginnings, Ruth Leslie found a home and a bounty of happiness in the Green River Valley some 80 years ago.

“I’ve had a good life,” said Leslie. “Yes, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve lived a good life.”

Sunday was a special one for the longtime Auburnite, when family and friends gathered to celebrate her 102nd birthday at Merrill Gardens in Auburn, where Leslie lives.

“She’s a good friend,” said Fran Calkins, who has known Leslie for 65 years. “She’s kind, willing to help anybody and is a hard worker.”

The Great Depression was raging when Leslie’s parents, with $10 in their pockets, packed their five kids into one car and left Wilton, North Dakota behind for the Pacific Northwest.

Until their dusty, cross-country trek ended at a relative’s home in Kent, the family passed its nights along the sides of America’s highways and byways.

Leslie’s father soon got a job working the coal mines in Selleck, her mother worked for the Libby Cannery in Kent.

After her graduation from Kent High School, Leslie became a dental assistant. She married Al Leslie, who owned the Auburn Sun newspaper. They had two children, Gayle Price and Charles Leslie.

Leslie worked at Weese Jewelry in Auburn and belonged to the Children’s Orthopedic Guild for 70 years. She is a member of First United Methodist Church.

Leslie enjoys gardening, playing bridge and traveling. She used to dance regularly with her husband. She enjoys weekly visits to the salon at Merrill Gardens and spending time with family and friends. She has five grandchildren.

Asked for her secret to longevity, Leslie replied, “Darned if I know. … I never drank, never smoked, so maybe that’s it.”

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