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January 07, 2014 11:06 am

Powell woman turns 107

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Dottie Turney celebrates her 107th birthday on Dec. 19 at the Powell Valley Care Center. ‘She attributes her longevity to hard work,’ said Penny Blake, her granddaughter. Turney didn’t move into the care center until after she turned 100, following an accident while she was washing her windows. She is older than the town of Powell, which turns 105 this year. Dottie Turney celebrates her 107th birthday on Dec. 19 at the Powell Valley Care Center. ‘She attributes her longevity to hard work,’ said Penny Blake, her granddaughter. Turney didn’t move into the care center until after she turned 100, following an accident while she was washing her windows. She is older than the town of Powell, which turns 105 this year. Tribune photo by Tessa Schweigert

Powell’s senior resident is older than the city

Born in 1906 — when Theodore Roosevelt served as president and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West still toured Europe — Dottie Turney is older than Powell itself.

The town was founded in 1909, and its oldest resident marked her 107th birthday on Dec. 19. She celebrated with family at the Powell Valley Care Center, where she resides.

Quick to smile and offer a hug, Turney’s family describes her as “always smiling.”

“She brings a lot of joy to others,” said Penny Blake, her granddaughter, adding she is happy to see visitors.

“She attributes her longevity to hard work. She never smoked or drank alcohol,” Blake added.

Turney’s life has spanned major events in modern history. She was a youngster when the Titanic sank and when World War I began.

She was born in Iowa on Dec. 19, 1906. Her family later moved to Briggsdale, Colo. As a child, Turney went to church on Sundays in a horse-drawn buckboard.

Turney attended a county school that only went to eighth grade.

“She attended the eighth grade a couple of years because she couldn’t go to high school,” Blake said. “The last year she attended, she taught the kids, because the teacher was a ‘drunkard,’ in her words.”

Turney later worked as a waitress and spent many years as a cafeteria employee. One Christmas season, Turney got a job as a hand model in a department store, showing jewelry and nail polish.

She married Donald Turney in 1927, and the couple moved to Powell in the early 1930s. They raised one child, Doris (Turney) Cunningham, who died in 2011. Turney became a grandmother to four granddaughters, four great-grandchildren, eight great-great grandchildren and four great-great-great grandchildren.

Turney always loved yard work and took pride in mowing her own lawn until she was in her late 90s. She loved mowing so much that she was reluctant to let others do it for her, Blake said.

She recalled a great-grandson, Corey, who offered to mow his Grandma Turney’s lawn.

“She would ask him what time, and then when he would get there, she would already be mowing the yard,” Blake said. “She would tell him she didn’t know what time he was coming with a twinkle in her eye.”

Known to be feisty and independent, Turney lived on her own through her 90s.

“She still did everything by herself,” Blake said.

Her grandson moved in with her when she was 98. When she was almost 101, Turney decided to wash her windows, and fell from the ladder. She was injured and moved into the care center.

It turned out to be a nice move, Blake said, since Turney loves the nurses and staff.

Bill Blake, who is married to Turney’s granddaughter Penny, remembers when Turney was 80, and she said then she “wasn’t going to live very long.”

That was nearly 30 years ago.

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