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Party Held for Utah's Centenarians

Party Held for Utah's Centenarians

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Sarah Dallof ReportingUtah's Governor and Lt. Governor hosted an exclusive party this afternoon. To get an invitation, you had to be at least 100 years old.

At the Governor's 21st Annual Centenarian Celebration, it was all about the numbers.

Rhea Barnett, born in 1898.
Rhea Barnett, born in 1898.

Rhea Barnett is 109 and the oldest person in Utah.

"Feels like I'm old," she said.

Her granddaughter, Denise Lyday, told us, "She was born in 1898. She was two years old at the turn of the century and saw another turn of the century."

There's one centenarian for every 10,000 people in the nation. So a brother and sister really beat the odds.

LeOra Larsen said, "I am 100 years old." She said her brother is turning 107. And she's right. Dr. Russell Clark is Utah's oldest man. His secret?

"Wake up every morning. This is the best day of the year. Best day of the year," he said.

At 100 years old, James Thornton just barely made the cut this year.

"This is my birthday," he said.

He's older than Cornflakes and Mickey Mouse. But ask people to guess his age, and they're often wrong. "I'm told anything from 79 up to 85," he said.

Party Held for Utah's Centenarians

Then there's Marguerite Flickinger, 101, who's traveled the world thanks to inventions that came along during her lifetime, like the airplane, computer and automobile. She's mother to one, grandma to three, and great-grandma to two, including one lucky reporter.

"I've been very, very blessed to have a lovely family," she said.

Marguerite Flickinger is 101 years old.
Marguerite Flickinger is 101 years old.

The governor also declared today Centenarians Day, making it a first for Utah, at least this year.

Nationally, about 80 percent of centenarians are women, 20 percent are men.

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