Photo by Marty Gordon
Sitting in her apartment this week at Commonwealth Living in Christiansburg, Bernadine Lester shows off a picture of a younger version of herself in the 1920s.

Marty Gordon

Woodrow Wilson narrowly defeated Republican Charles E. Hughes in 1916 for another term in the White House. It was also the year Americans watched as World War I continued across the pond in Europe. Later that year, Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service, and the Boy Scouts were granted a Congressional Charter. Among those monumental events, it was also the year, Bernadine Lester was born. This week, she celebrated her 103rd birthday.

The Christiansburg woman’s secret to longevity, as she puts it, is just being so darn stubborn to keep staying around. Her youngest of three children, Kathy Waller, called her mother “fiery, independent and, yes, stubborn at times.”

Wednesday, Bernadine sat in a chair at Commonwealth Assisted Living. Resting her leg from a fall she suffered earlier in the week, typically, the little white-haired lady is up and running not letting much slow her down with no grass growing under her feet.

She laughed that she has been known to do a Charleston or two when the nursing facility holds a special event downstairs in the conference room.

“I don’t know if I can do that right now, but I will try,” she said, twisting her leg while doing the interview.

She has lived at Commonwealth for the past 15 years, and…



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