Utah celebrates centenarians

Gov. Herbert visits with Utah's oldest woman, Beatrice Payne (age 106), at the Centenarian Celebration held Friday.

Gov. Herbert listens to Utah’s oldest woman, Beatrice Payne (age 106), at the Centenarian Celebration held Friday.

Governor Gary R. Herbert and Mrs. Herbert visited Utah’s oldest and wisest citizens and their families Friday at the 29th annual Centenarian Celebration in West Jordan.

“Utah Centenarians are valuable role models and sources of wisdom for younger generations,” Gov. Herbert said. “They pass on the legacy and values of patriotism, sacrifice, freedom of opportunity, dedication to duty, and a strong work ethic. I am most grateful for their contributions to the history and prosperity of our great state.”

Members of Utah’s “Century Club” lived through World War I and II, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, and the nationwide passage of women’s suffrage, to name a few historical events. 

In 1915, the average life expectancy was only 50 years. The average price of a home was $3,200 and a loaf of bread cost 7 cents.

It is estimated that there are 145 individuals living in Utah who have reached or passed their 100th birthday.

The oldest women in the Governor’s Century Club of Utah are Grace Simkins and Beatrice Payne, both of whom are 106 years old and the oldest man is Evgeni Safonov, also 106.

The governor declared August 28, 2015 as Centenarians’ Day in Utah. Read the full declaration here.

Additional photos from the event can be downloaded here.