Ada Torrey celebrated her 104th birthday with a party at St. Joseph Home in Burlington March 15, enjoying cake, dancing with a friend and visiting with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne.

“Life is what you make it,” she said. “I was only two pounds at birth, and the doctor said I’d never make old bones. As you can see, I’m still here, and the doctor has died years ago!”

Born March 16, 1915, on a cold winter’s day on a farm in Wallingford, she was the third of six children. (Only a sister is still living.) Her mother was a teacher and her father the road commissioner.

She lived in Vermont all her life and met her first husband at a dance in the Wallingford town hall; they had four children together, including twin daughters who are still living, in Connecticut. The family lived in Shelburne, and when her children were old enough, she took a job in a school office.

Torrey, who attended Holy Family Church in Essex Junction, was married twice and widowed twice.

She likes living at St. Joseph Home because “people there are wonderful,” she said.

Asked what example Torrey gives to the people who know her, Mary Beth Pinard, executive director, of Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. (which operates St. Joseph’s), commented, “Be happy.”

When the grandmother of five was asked about living a long life, she replied, “I am a fighter.”

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