World War II Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday

January 28, 2008

She drove herself around town until just last year and she’s just as sharp and quick-witted as ever. She’s full of witty good humor and wisdom and doesn’t hesitate to say what she thinks, whether you want to hear it or not. She’s well known in her community and one of their best known and active senior citizens. Meet US Army Veteran, Irene Davey.

On Friday, US Army Veteran Irene Davey was thrown a surprise birthday party to help her celebrate her 100th birthday. The party was attended by over 100 friends, family members and government officials and was highlighted by a video biography of her life. Irene was truly the star of the day, as she fired off one-liners and shared memories of her job in the Army during World War II. Irene Davey joined the Army in 1942 when her late husband Harold joined the Air Force. With a smile on her face, she recalled their discussion about each of thems choice to join the military.

“He said, ‘Do you think you’ll like it?’ and I said, ‘Do you think you will.?’” Davey recalled fondly.

Davey served for two years in the Women’s Army Auxillary Corps. Initially she served as a truck driver at Fort Devens and later as a recruiter in Dayton, Ohio. By the time she was honorably discharged, she had achieved the rank of technician third grade, which is today’s Army is the equivalent of Staff Sergeant. She says that she chose not to serve overseas, because her husband Harold, an Air Force crew chief was stationed in Wyoming. She remembered the pain and devastation she saw as she drove wounded Soldiers from Boston to the hospital at Fort Devens. About her time as a recruiter, saying that she often used the force of her bluntly honest personality to recruit new Soldiers. Her stories and antedotes kept the people attending the party laughing. With a twinkle in her eye, she told how she convinced reluctant recruits to join.

“If they didn’t want to go into the service, I made them,” she said.

Irene’s husband Harold died 35 years ago. She lives by herself in her home in Attleboro, Massachusetts. She cooks her own meals and her family members stop by frequently to bring her groceries and have a taste of her famous chicken soup. She spends her day working crossword puzzles and when she has visitors, they are often found playing Scrabble and cribbage.

“I have the best family in the world,” Davey said. “And friends are special. It’s been a lonely road, but having friends like you make me feel so good.”

After her husband died 35 years ago, Irene never remarried. She notes though, that family and friends have made the lonely times better and eased the void that his passing left in her life. She says that she wouldn’t hesitate to live her life over again.

“Life is best lived in the present,” Davey said. “We only have this moment, let’s make the most of it. Right now, I have the best of it.”

I can only hope, that if I reach the age of 100, that I will be as healthy and vibrant as Irene and not afraid to speak my mind, as she is. Happy 100th Birthday Irene Davey and Thank You For Your Service to our Country.
The Boston Globe

The Sun Chronicle


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