‘Wonderful life’ at 100

  • June Gilligan, an Arbor Terrace resident, turned 100 years young Friday, June 21, during a big celebration among several family members, friends and the senior living facility’s staff. She is pictured in a recent photo. - Recent photo by Tammy Cheek/Other photo submitted

  • June Gilligan as a young adult in the 1950s - Recent photo by Tammy Cheek/Other photo submitted

While Arbor Terrace assisted living resident and centenarian June Gilligan regarded her life sometimes as mundane, she also enjoys recalling her many travels and life’s adventures.

“I had a wonderful, beautiful, different — in every description — life,” she reflected. “But I’ve had more than my share of sadness.”

June celebrated her 100th birthday Friday, June 21, at Arbor Terrace with family and friends.

“It’s a total shock that I’ve lived that long,” she said. “I had my plans to die made at 92. I didn’t waste any time then, from 92 to 100. I enjoyed, probably, every minute of it because I wanted to live it up all I could.

“I would say that 90 percent of my 100 years has been fruitful,” June added. “I had a life most people would die for.”

She attributed her longevity to heredity and a busy life.

“My parents were pretty old,” she recalled. “But I was always a busy, busy person.

“When I was a little girl, I got into all sorts of trouble because I was always doing something I shouldn’t,” June recalled. “But, I never sat around.”

While she may have brooded and cried at times — tears of joy and sadness as well as anyone — “I never sat around and carried my tears on my shirtsleeve all the time,” June said.

Also, “I enjoy people.”

To have a long life, June said, “You’ve got to have a plan and follow that plan as well as you can.”

She was born in 1924 to the late Rovene and Walter Ward, and grew up with a sibling, Wanda, 22 months June’s senior, on a farm near Thorntown, Indiana.

“My dad was attending Notre Dame college” at the time of her birth,” June said. “He quit school after that because he couldn’t afford it. He had to work.

“When I was growing up, my family was not real lovey, lovey, lovey,” the birthday girl added. “You had a problem? Well, ‘wipe it off and go.’”

Still, she cherishes her memories of living on the farm with her sister.

“I went through so many phases in life that everything that I seemed to touch, I treasured because it was so different from what I had just experienced,” June said. “I was always adventuresome, and I can remember as a little girl, I snooped all the time because I always wanted to see what was on the other side.”