100-year-old woman stays active, overcomes challenges

   |  Posted Jun 9th, 2008 @ 10:15pm


Ed Yeates reporting

Melva Cazier is blind, 100 years old, but still teaches exercise classes and takes care of her aging, but younger, friends.

At 100 years old, Melva Cazier is still going, and going strong. She leads exercise classes at the Apple Tree assisted living center in Kaysville. Even while sitting down, she still is actively moving those arms and legs.

Trim and fit for her age? You bet! In her words, "My stomach muscles remain firm."

"When you raise your feet, that pulls them in, and if you do it enough, it gets so strong it stays there," she explained.

She walks the halls, paints like her 102-year-old sister did and takes other residents under her wing.

It's hard enough when you're 100 years old. But Melva is also legally blind. She lost one eye in a bow-and-arrow accident when she was 8 years old and then lost the other eye, later, to glaucoma.

She remembers, at age 12, seagulls swooping out of the sky in 1920 attacking Mormon crickets. "The seagulls came in, and they ate those crickets," she said. "They'd fly down on the Bear River and they'd heave them up."

At her 100-year birthday party with her other sister, who's 87 years old, Melva said, "I feel about as good as I did when I was 50."

Though she's legally blind, Melva plays in a Nintendo Wii bowling tournament. She said, "I've got the highest score in the building."

Seeing mostly shadows, she distinguishes the outline of pins and the gutter, then swings the controller.

Rich with memories but never wanting to be stereotyped as old-fashioned, Melva Cazier is one of a kind.

Also, she apparently makes beautiful flower arrangements, sensing how to put them together by feel, not by sight.

E-mail: eyeates@ksl.com