Archive for Sunday, November 12, 1995


November 12, 1995


Today, Lawrenceresident Russie Yetman celebrates a century of life.

With the good Lord, good help and a little streak of orneriness, Russie Yetman says anyone can make it a century.

At least that's how the 100-year-old Lawrence woman did it. Today, she celebrates her first century with four generations of her offspring.

"You don't realize how time passes," Russie said. "This one kind of slipped up on me."

She's lived through several wars, 19 presidents, economic depressions and supported her three children on her own after her husband died in 1939. She even managed to help a lot of less fortunate people she found along her way, helping educate one family of six.

"I did a little bit of everything," said Russie, who worked until she was 70. "Some days I didn't have a dime, but I'd just get out and find something to do."

Since before World War II, she's not only documented every one of her daily activities, but every single penny she's ever spent -- filling a big cedar chest with sheets of paper records.

Russie's daughter, Mary Jennings, 75, said a little bit of stubbornness has always kept her mom going. Jennings reminded her mother of one such example -- Russie went around Tulsa, , 15 years ago tearing down all the signs people had stapled to utility poles.

"People do such filthy things," Russie said, shaking her head. "It makes your town look so bad. After I started cleaning up, people kind of slowed down. I don't know who is doing it now."

Jennings said Russie was a good disciplinarian who always knew where her children were and what they were doing.

The lack of that kind of supervision today is one change in the world Russie said she's hated to see. She said the world today is a world away from the safety and security she knew in her youth and her children's youth.

"We have just too many plain rotten people," Russie said, as she remarked on the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing. "Oh, mercy, it's gotten bad. You could go places and do what you wanted to do, but now when you go, you don't know if you'll come back or what will happen while you are there."

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