CHICO – Chico resident Mary Bedford will turn 100 on Monday. The secret of his longevity? “Destiny” and “Living a Christian Life.” She will celebrate her birthday with her family at a steakhouse in Chico’s.
Bedford was born on her family’s farm in rural Nebraska and grew up in Colorado. She went to a one-room school on her horse and learned to drive a farm truck when she was just 10 years old. She still rides Chico’s to this day. She was a trailblazer from behind. In high school, she was on the girls’ basketball team, which was a novelty at the time.
She met her late husband Stewart Bedford in high school. They were high school sweethearts and were married in 1944 during World War II. He attended the University of Northern Colorado. Stewart Bedford worked as a clinical psychologist and got a job at a state clinic in Chico, which dissolved after four or five years, and then worked in private practice. Stewart Bedford died three years ago. Mary Bedford has lived in the same house in Chico for 65 years.
Mary Bedford says she has lived a “primitive” life and has no smartphone or computer access. She has a flip phone that she keeps in her car only for emergencies. She remembers using a typewriter and taking typing classes.
The 99-year-old grew up without television and listened to the radio for an hour a day. “We built our activities,” she said.
“My friends complain all the time that stuff isn’t working on their computers,” she said. Mary Bedford never has to worry about computer problems because she doesn’t use them. She says that the computer age has wiped out real communication.
Bedford had three children together. The 99-year-old has five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren with whom she is close. Mary Bedford’s daughter, Sandy Rogers, was born in 1949 and now lives in Reno, Nevada. Her son was born in 1953 and lives in Colorado and her second son was born in 1962 and lives in the Bay Area.
During World War II, Mary Bedford served as a safety and security officer for the United States Army Ordnance Corps, overseeing bomb plants throughout the country. It was a “man’s job” and only 11 women were selected for the job across the United States. According to Rogers, they were looking for “no-nonsense women who were even cuddly and practical. Good in emergencies. That’s Mary!”
The soldiers traveled by train and Mary Bedford was the only woman in the sleeping cars. She was asked if she wanted to install a safety rail to keep distance between herself and the male workers, but she declined. She had a good relationship with her male co-workers and enjoyed spending time with them while riding. They were fed at train stops by women who competed with each other to make pies and cakes for the soldiers.
Mary Bedford loved ballroom dancing and learned the fox trot, waltz and tango. He remembers wearing a formal dress while dancing. According to Rogers, the social activity for Bedford was “dancing with a gang of boys and girls, who would go wherever we could find good music, and dance until they stopped playing.” Gave.”
In her early days, Mary Bedford enjoyed horseback riding and hunting and rode her family’s farm. He had an elder brother and a younger brother and is now the last surviving member of his family.
Mary Bedford loves sports and skiing until the age of 70. She also loves basketball and is a self-proclaimed “football nut”. She attended the University of Northern Colorado.
“I’ve had more experience as a woman than most women,” said Mary Bedford. “I took courage and chances.”
Mary Bedford has always been an individual and very independent. She has led a very healthy life and has only had one flu shot in her life. She survived diphtheria, which can cause damage to the lungs and throat.
Mary Bedford says the COVID-19 pandemic has “changed the spirit of our country” and “taken away our freedoms.” Mary Bedford has never seen a pandemic like this and is upset that companies are firing people who haven’t been vaccinated. Mary Bedford herself survived getting infected with COVID-19.
The Chico woman attends St. Augustine Episcopal Church every week and volunteers for many church events. She loves to hang out and is also a member of In Motion Fitness. She says this summer has been the worst she has ever seen in Chico, what with the fires, the pandemic, and the heat. “Mother Nature has good control over what is thrown at us,” she said.
She says Chico’s has changed a lot over the years, and it was a “sleepy hollow town” when she first moved here and has since become a small town. She says she has the same problems she had before.
According to Rogers, Mary Bedford has been active in the Chico community since she moved here in 1954. She was a school volunteer during her children’s education. She was the president of the Pleasant Valley Parent Teachers Association, served on the Board of Family Services and the Bidwell Mansion Board.
Bedford is “truly amazing” according to her daughter. She still drives and lives independently. “She’s totally into it and often wonders what’s wrong with other people’s minds because they forget a lot,” Rogers said.
According to Rogers, Mary Bedford is active in her community. She is interested in her own health and the health of others. She loves her garden and still does a little work in it. Mary is an avid reader, reads the Wall Street Journal every day, and loves to share books with others. Some of her favorite subjects are WWII books, especially those with female heroines. She loves all historical fiction and cowboy books.
Rogers said that although her mother can no longer do needlepoint, it has been the love of a lifetime. All members of the family have what they call ornaments, including Christmas stockings for each of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She lovingly completed all of her church kneeling, as well as dining room chair seats, pillows, and door stops for family members and friends.
Rogers said Mary Bedford has taken a nap every day for the past 70 years and feels that rest is the key to good health. She is not on any medication and takes only natural supplements. She believes in a holistic approach to her health and life in general. Mary goes for walks every day (now with Zippy Walker) and believes in fresh air and drinking lots of water.
She has a strong faith, doesn’t really sweat over small things and takes care of herself. According to Rogers, ‘One of my favorite Mary proverbs is, “If the woman doesn’t take the time, the woman will take the time.”
In an email, Rogers wrote that “Mary says what she thinks and has always been independent. She is often described as “‘a force to be reckoned with.”