Sunset Meadows hosts party for residents age 90 and older |

Sunset Meadows hosts party for residents age 90 and older

Nicole Inglis
Sunset Meadows, an independent living retirement community, hosted a party for residents older than 90 years old. From left are Millie Bilsing, Sophie Nardi, Elsie Chase, Tawnette Ayres, Leether Redmon, Helen Dobbin and Maxine Martin.
Courtesy Photo

2009 Sunset Meadows Nifty Nineties

May McIntyre, 98

Leether Redmon, 96

Maxine Martin, 94

Sophie Nardi, 93

Eslie Chase, 91

Helen Dobbin, 91

Twanette Ayres, 90

Millie Bilsing, 90

Ninety-one-year-old Helen Dobbin is dressed the part of a guest of honor in the Sunset Meadows cafeteria.

Her eyelids sparkle with green eye shadow, and her cheeks are flushed with pink. She wears a bright purple lace shawl, a smile on her lips and a decorated gold Burger King crown atop her head.

“Last year, this party was more quiet,” Dobbin said, raising her voice above the din of talking, eating and laughter. “But this is just super. What a nice event.”

In all, eight gold crowns dotted the tables in the cafeteria, each a guest of honor at Wednesday’s Nifty Nineties party, celebrating the retirement community’s residents who are 90 or older.

Honorees ranged from 90 to 98 years young. The eldest, May McIntyre, had been looking forward to the event but was taken to the hospital earlier in the day because of fluid in her lungs.

“But you should see her,” said Ute Murray, Moffat County Housing Authority executive director. “Her hearing is fine; she doesn’t use a walker. She looks great.”

Murray said McIntyre returned to her apartment Thursday in good health.

It’s clear, looking around the cafeteria, that the 90-year-old residents haven’t forgotten how to have fun.

They each invited members of their family, often including great- and great-great-grandchildren, to come to the event. Several local businesses, including Brothers Custom Processing, City Market and Safeway provided dinner and dessert for the party, while John Wayne Band played country tunes.

All eight of the honorees were presented with a plaque, card and flowers while the audience was treated to brief, lighthearted stories about their lives.

“I feel very honored,” Dobbin said. “It’s so nice to see so many people from both buildings all together.”

Darryl Steele, an MCHA Board member, said it was important to honor the citizens of Craig who reached the 90-year milestone.

“There are not a lot of people who will get to be 90,” he said. “These are the people who set up Moffat County, the pioneers. They started the community and set the values that are still carrying on today.”

Although some of the honorees had only recently moved to Craig, some had deep roots in the community.

McIntyre, whose family homesteaded north of Maybell, was active with the church and elementary school in the small town. Her father was elected the first superintendent of Moffat County School District.

Leether Redmon was born in 1912 to a family of Routt County pioneers. He worked as a grain farmer before opening a John Deere dealership and winning trophies for his sales abilities.

He attributes his longevity to good genes, he said.

“My father lived to be 103,” he said.

Perhaps he’ll pass those genes onto his six children, 19 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, 17 great-great grandchildren and a soon-to-be-born great-great-great-grandson.

“I stopped counting a long time ago,” he said about his blooming family tree.

His daughter, Jerrie Simpson, who Redmon called his “right-hand man,” said her father has seen Craig change before his eyes during the past century.

“You wouldn’t even know it was Craig,” he said in his slow and thoughtful voice. “This all here, this was barley fields.”

But all of the 90-year-old residents seemed more concerned with their present and future than memories of the past.

Twanette Ayres, 90, bounced happily in her seat at her table and sang along with “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain.” Her excitement knocked her crown askew, and her family members repeatedly replaced it on her head, unable to contain their laughter.

She also cooed about her new miniature Daschund puppy, Henry, who she entered in the 2009 Moffat County Fair wiener dog races.

Dobbin talked about going to her grandchildren’s volleyball games and school plays, saying keeping up with her children helps her stay young.

For her 90th birthday, her daughter, Deanna Sweetser, of Hayden, took her to a Colorado Rockies game in Denver.

“Oh, she loved it,” Sweetser said. “She was so impressed. She loves sports. She’s a huge Broncos fan and keeps up with all the scores.”

Housing Authority board members drew tickets for prizes such as baked goods, flowers and a jewelry box donated by Kester Jewelry, while the music played on and cake was served.

Dobbin and Ayres kept looking around, smiling, and thanking everyone they could for the party.

“You know, this is a really good table; everyone’s having fun,” Dobbin said. “And I look around, and all of the other tables are having fun, too.”

Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or

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