Fighting her way to 100th birthday

Anne Jonas, 100,  jokes about starting a new century as her daughter Marilyn Saya of Grand Junction laughs. Jonas, a lifelong Colorado resident, was born in Cested Butte and now lives with her daughter in GJ.

Anne Jonas has beaten three bouts of cancer, survived a double mastectomy and weathered having an 8-pound tumor removed from her stomach.

She added another chapter to her remarkable life Friday when she turned 100, celebrating with not one but two parties attended by four generations of family, as well as friends and neighbors.

And she took the opportunity to get all dressed up for the occasion, wearing a pink dress and donning a pair of sparkling earrings with her salt-and-pepper hair in curls.

On Saturday, Jonas rested in bed, flanked by her daughter, Marilyn Saya, with whom she lives, and her granddaughter, Debbie Jonas, and shared memories of being snowbound in her family’s house in Crested Butte, the two-seater outhouse and homemade ice cream that was churned by hand.

Jonas’ parents emigrated from Slovenia to Crested Butte in 1899. Her husband, August, was a coal miner who died in the late 1960s from a variety of ailments, including black lung disease.

She never remarried and still wears her wedding ring.

Jonas’ hearing isn’t as sharp as it used to be, and she’s now bed-ridden with cancer on her spine. But those ailments haven’t affected her mind. She plays cards every evening at
8 with her daughter and loves to watch “Jeopardy!.” 

“I like to watch ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ too,” she said.

She also gets bent out of shape when the Denver Broncos lose.

Her secret to a long life may be found in her diet. She eats very little meat, instead preferring lots of fruits and vegetables. Her genetic makeup may also have something to do with it.

“She has a brother who’s 94, so she has good genes,” said her nephew, Joe Saya Jr.


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