Michigan’s Oldest Resident Has A Story To Tell
A day off of school may be one of the best reasons why Irene Dunham is still alive at 113.
Irene Dunham is just a couple of months away from turning 114. She is the oldest living resident in Michigan, and, and one of only a few supercentenarians (over 110 years of age).
Dunham was born Irene Babcock in 1907 in Bath Township near Lansing, one of a farm family of 9 (or 8 depending on who you talk to). She was attending Bath Community Schools in 1927, just a few classes away from her high school diploma.
On the morning of May 18, Irene awoke with a sore throat, and decided it was best not to go to school that day. It was a decision that enabled her to reach 113. For that day was the morning of the Bath School Bombing, when a disgruntled citizen took 1000 pounds of explosives and bombed the building in a beef over taxes.
38 were killed that day, including many of Irene's classmates. Her sister Eva, survived by jumping out of a window, awhile her younger brother, Lloyd. lost part of his hand.
Shortly after the bombing, Irene was married to her late husband Laurits, and never finished high school. In the 50th anniversary of the incident, the Bath High School seniors invited the class of 1927 to receive their diplomas with them, and so she technically graduated from high school the same year I did, 1977.
Her son, Bruce, says his mom is still sharp as a knife and resilient as ever, “She survived two world wars, went through the Great Depression, school bombing and colon cancer at 90 and two pandemics,” Bruce told WILX News.
Her brother, George, is 101 and a decorated veteran of World War II.
As far as life advice from Irene, it's simple, really, “Just live from day-to-day and do the best you can. [Don’t] hurt anybody. I never in my life hurt anyone. I have been happy, mostly just working out in my garden.”
Irene will be 114 on December 16.
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