100 years young and going strong
Midwestern woman takes up new life in Clarksburg at end of her first century
Ardis MacGregor is approaching her 100th birthday at the end of the month with her typical Midwestern equanimity.
"I honestly don't feel I'm 100," she said. "I enjoy every day and enjoy each new experience."
And, except for some hearing loss and balance and shoulder problems caused by an automobile crash more than a year ago, MacGregor does not display any of the infirmities that might be expected at her age.
MacGregor has always been open to life's challenges. At age 75 she took up competitive ballroom dancing. A bookcase in her bedroom is filled with trophies, including the last ones she won in Las Vegas 19 years ago when she was runner-up in an open division for all ages in waltz, rumba and tango.
For the last four years MacGregor has lived in an apartment in Clarksburg Town Center, one of the county's newest communities. She moved to the area from her native Minnesota to be closer to her daughter, Jean Casey, who is director of marketing and circulation for The Gazette.
"I've been very happy here, very appreciative," MacGregor said.
MacGregor was born about 30 miles away from Minneapolis, where her father, a surgeon, ran a hospital. The family lived on the first floor and the hospital was on the second.
"When there was surgery on, we had to be very quiet around the house," she said.
Her father taught her to drive the family Model T Ford and together they went on their first flight, on an old World War I plane that buzzed the family home.
"Dad was always into something new," she said.
MacGregor had her first job while in high school she and her cousins played the ukulele and sang at the movies while the projectionist changed reels. After college she had a brief stint as a teacher at her former high school. But her parents, husband and children needed her too much for her to be working outside the home, she said.
"I think our life then was easier, not so hectic as it is now," MacGregor said.
Life changed gradually and MacGregor always adapted, she said.
"When anything has happened to me I learn to live with it," she said.
MacGregor married her college beau, Gordon MacGregor, in 1938.
Her husband was recruited to work for the FBI during World War II. The bureau moved them from New York City to Chicago to Washington, D.C., and to Cleveland. They enjoyed the big cities and dancing to the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey bands, she said.
After the war they settled in Minneapolis, had two children and MacGregor became active in PTA and volunteer organizations. The couple continued to enjoy dancing.
"She was a very modern mother, always kept up with trends," Casey said.
She was also a wonderful role model with her school and other volunteer work, Casey said.
After her husband's death, MacGregor moved into a retirement community in Minneapolis.
With her son, Jim MacGregor, living in San Francisco and her daughter living in Montgomery County, MacGregor was persuaded that she lived too far away from her family and made the move to Clarksburg.
She is looking ahead to her 100th birthday in two weeks, when her entire family will come to town to celebrate.