It’s rare enough to turn 100 — and rarer still when a married couple reach that milestone together.
Teresa Connell joined her husband Bill in becoming a centenarian on Jan. 18, after he celebrated last August, with a clam chowder bakeoff at Buckley’s Heritage House.
Being 100 doesn’t feel much different than 99, she said in a recent interview, “Except for people bringing it to the surface.”
Teresa was born in Buckley, the third of eight kids, “so I got to change the diapers for everyone,” she said.
She grew up on a farm outside Orting; on top of all her farm-related tasks, she went to school and taught her father, who was from Switzerland, to read English so he could become an American citizen and buy his own land.
Teresa graduated Buckley High School in 1942. From there, she worked at the White River sawmill, and then as a phone operator at an Enumclaw company before getting the same job at the Western State Hospital.
One of her big hobbies was bowling — “I had a 160 average,” she said — but she also gardened, made quilts, and did some carpentry work.
Teresa retired in the mid-1980s and, just a few years later, married Bill, her second husband.
The couple loved to travel together — Teresa mentioned England, France, and Italy specifically — but they also made sure to be back in Buckley every summer so they could watch the annual Log Show. Teresa’s younger brother was Robert Britschgi, who was named Bull of the Woods in 2010.
She and Bill haven’t been able to go these last couple years, but would like to try this summer and “see some people I haven’t seen for years,” she continued.
Teresa also hopes to hit the slots at least once more; Teresa had more than her fair share of luck, getting numerous small jackpots from the one-armed bandit and other lotteries, including, if her memory serves, one hosted by The Courier-Herald.
But most importantly, whatever she does, she wants to do it with Bill.