Columbia woman still going at 101

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:08 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008
FANNY LUCAS, 101, says her secret is to always do the right thing and be yourself.

A baby born in the United States three years ago will live an average of 78 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This number is higher than ever, but researchers have pinpointed factors — such as obesity and 45 million citizens without health insurance — that are causing America to fall in the international rankings. The National Center for Health Statistics reported Tuesday that 41 other countries — including Japan, Jordan and most of Europe — have surpassed the U.S. in life expectancy.

Columbia resident Fanny Lucas is celebrating her 101st year. She’s living well past the life expectancy of even the top-ranking country, Andorra, which boasts a life expectancy of 83.5 years.

She and her four brothers, who have since died, all lived to celebrate their 100th birthdays.

Born in New Bloomfield and a longtime resident of Mexico, Mo., Lucas now lives on Smiley Lane in Columbia with her grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

Lucas said as a youth, she would walk with her brothers to visit family on Worley Street. They would wake up early in the morning to get to Columbia, which back then “certainly wasn’t a city,” she said.

Lucas said that young people today would laugh at the idea of walking any substantial distance.

Perhaps because of her active youth, Lucas is not obese today, even though she said she does enjoy her recipes for fudge, biscuits and brownies, which have fed four generations. Lucas said she and her brothers ate well. Some of her most famous recipes are almost centenarians themselves. Faded and handwritten, they are still kept alive by her granddaughter-in-law.

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