When Sunnie Burger was born in 1922, President Warren G. Harding had just introduced the first radio to the White House, the Supreme Court heard a case about smallpox and mandatory vaccinations, and Robin Hood — starring Douglas Fairbanks — was on the big screen.
Now, celebrating her 100th birthday on Sept. 1 (her actual birthday was a day later), the White House routinely uses Twitter, modern medicine has eradicated the deadly disease, and Robin Hood has been remade more than 70 times.
Sunnie grew up in Brooklyn, NY, though her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 18.
When WWII finally came to the U.S., she joined up with Woman’s Air Corps as an aerial photographer and served for three years. What Sunnie photographed was “top secret,” she said in a recent interview, before moving on to happier memories of rollerskating.
Much of her adult life was then spent with her husband, Bob Mann, in Leaburg, OR, with their two children; she only recently became an Enumclaw resident about four years ago, having moved into the Cascade Place Assisted Living east of town.
Sunnie said it’s lovely to be a century old “from the neck up”, though down south, she admitted, isn’t as much of a party.
Her secret to living this long, she added, is “whisky, wine, and beer,” while sipping a cup of red.
Sunnie’s son Ken also commended her positive (sunny?) attitude toward life, despite its ups and downs.
“The glass is not just half-full, it’s refillable,” he said. “Clichéd, but it’s true.”
Sunnie spent her birthday among her Cascade Place family and various relatives, which included numerous grandchildren. great-grandchildren, and even a great-great grandchild.
The party may be over, but Sunnie is still going strong.
“I can hardly wait for keeping on,” she said.