By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Theresa Horsfield, a longtime member of the Crest Forest Senior Citizens Club, celebrated her 103rd birthday at the seniors’ nutrition luncheon on March 31. Theresa had not attended the luncheon for several years due to the COVID closures and was excited to be able to attend again.
When she entered the room, those in the San Moritz Lodge rose to their feet to spontaneously sing “Happy Birthday” to her. The surprise on her face was amazing to see, since the birthday party was a complete surprise to her. The announcement of the party, which had been sent to the club members, had been hidden from Theresa by her children. She was so pleased to see all the decorations, cards, balloons, cake and especially so many of her longtime friends in the room.
Theresa sat at her regular table and her friends came over to greet her and the twinkle in her eyes and her comments showed she was enjoying herself. When asked her secret to longevity, she said, “Bacon.” One of her many gifts that afternoon was a pound of bacon.
Her daughter, Jane, and son-in-law Dan promised to bring her back more often to the luncheons, which Theresa said would make her very happy.
Prior to COVID, Theresa had been a very active member of the senior citizens club. She was checking people in at the luncheons and was still playing dominos, at the age of 100, with others at the club. She especially loved playing cards and enjoyed Friday afternoon movies and would have stayed active, if COVID-19 had not disrupted everyone’s lives.
According to Jane Horsfield, Theresa’s daughter, it was an interesting path that brought Theresa to Crestline. Theresa was born at home in Meyronne, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1919. Her parents were both naturalized American citizens. At age 3, her family moved to Maine, where her two younger siblings were born, and Theresa grew up there.
She met her future husband, Edward Horsfield, when she fell through the ice on a local pond while skating with her friends. Edward pulled her out of the freezing water, probably saving her life. Edward had been born in Biddeford, Maine.
Edward joined the Coast Artillery in September 1940 and was stationed close in Portland, Maine, so Theresa and Edward married in January 1941. He enrolled in Officer Candidate School in January 1943 in South Carolina, graduating in March, at the same time their first child was born. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in April, then entered the war at Normandy Beach in July. Nearly two years later, in November 1945, he returned home, where they had two more children in 1947 and 1951. In 1952, the family moved from Maine, settling in Gardena, Calif.
Theresa and Edward led an active lifestyle, enjoying dancing, bowling, golfing and camping. They continued all these activities well into their 80s. They enjoyed riding their horses on weekends into their 40s and 50s. Her love of nature and the outdoors was just another reason that Crestline interested her.
In 1983, Theresa and Edward retired to South Carolina but, in the early 2000s, they moved back to California. In 2009, Edward passed away. When Jane bought a small cabin in Crestline, that is when Theresa discovered how wonderful a place Crestline is and chose to live here full time. Theresa is normally shy and quiet, so it took a while for her to discover the Crest Forest Seniors Center but, after she did, she was all into the activities.
For her age, Theresa is still quite active, dressing and feeding herself, walking around the house and being involved in daily matters. She is now looking forward to returning to attending church, which has always been an important part of her life.
Theresa was excited just to return to the senior luncheon for her birthday, so the surprise party was a very wonderful shock for her, and it made her happy to be again surrounded by her friends.