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El Paso woman turns 100 on Valentine’s Day, says staying active is secret to long life

EL PASO, Texas -- She exercises, knits and crochets, drives, and even mows her own lawn. And this Valentine's Day, Katie Jensen turns 100 years old.   When asked how she feels about turning a century old, Katie is incredulous.

"I don't really think that's right. I don't think that's true. I don't feel old," Miss Katie says. And her age hasn't slowed her down. She buys her own groceries and gasoline, and even drove her own car to an interview with ABC-7 at UTEP's Holliday Hall, her place of employment for more than 30 years. She retired as the track secretary at the age of 98, just two years ago, saying she only retired so her co-workers could "have a new face around."

ABC-7 caught up with Katie as her former UTEP co-workers presented her with a birthday cake. When asked what she wished for as she blew out her candles, she said "a few more years." And her secret to living a long, healthy life?

"I try to stay active both physically and mentally, because it's so easy to sit in because a chair and mentally you need to be strong.  And when things don't go my way, I let it go. If they do go my way, I'm happy and I enjoy every day," she says.  Does she mind sharing her birthday with Valentine's Day? Absolutely not, she says, "I celebrate all month!"

Her husband of 40 years died in 1980, but as she celebrates this birthday milestone, she'll be surrounded by friends and dozens of family members. She has 2 daughters, 7 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and 22 great - great-grandchildren. That will be some celebration, and she's looking forward to it.

Katie is an El Pasoan through and through. Born in 1920 at the old Masonic Hospital, she attended Lamar and Houston Elementary schools, and graduated from Austin High School.  Before her career in the UTEP Track & Field office, she worked for 33 years at State National Bank.  

Another thing that keeps Katie young is her love of UTEP sports.  She recalls the moment Don Haskins led the1966 Texas Western Basketball team to a national championship.

"We won the championship, and I went jumping all over the furniture, running up and down the street, yelling: "we won!  we won!'  I was so excited - no one was listening," she laughs.  "It was so exciting!"

When she's not cheering on the athletes at track meets and basketball games, she also enjoys UTEP dinner theater productions.  

Happy birthday, Miss Katie!

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Hillary Floren

Hillary Floren co-anchors ABC-7’s Good Morning El Paso.

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