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Luck turning 100 years old in November
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Lillian Luck will turn 100 next month. Her only daughter, Jeanette, married Ray Dowell who became a well established chiropractor in Manteca. - photo by GLENN KAHL

One of Lillian Luck’s fondest childhood memories is recalling her parents’ open carriage pulled by two horses, “Beulah” and “Sam” when she was only three years old at the family farm in Rogersville, Missouri.

“My mom and dad sat in the two seats with the two horses in front – the carriage wasn’t covered,” she said.  

Next month Luck is celebrating her 100th birthday.

Luck along with her parents, four brothers and sister moved to Stockton from their Midwest farm during the Depression.  She was the third child.  None of them lived to be 90, she said.  Always smartly dressed, she uses a wheelchair today and regularly attends the Central Valley Baptist Church keeping track of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She remembers her mother raising 500 baby chicks at a time on their farm and selling apples at $1 a bushel to help feed their family. She clearly remembers her first grade teacher, Miss Ruth Forester.

“The first car my parents bought was a 1914 Model T-Ford touring car at an estate sale.  It was black, Ford black,” she said. “There was this one little hill where mom and us kids had to get out and walk up the hill so the car would make the climb.”

She recalled that the gas lever was under the steering wheel, noting the car had side curtains to snap on during cold and wet winter days. Lillian said the first movie she saw was black and white with two comics – no sound, no color.

“As a young girl I can remember my parents bringing me to the Manteca Creamery for a milk shake – chocolate.  The road from Stockton to Manteca was a very bumpy road,” she said.  

As a young woman she worked in the Bundy Cannery on Waterloo Road for some six years.  Her first car had a clutch she used to change gears.  She didn’t have good memories about using that clutch, saying, “It would jump, jump, jump!”

After an early marriage ended, Lillian married Albert Luck who was related to Manteca Mayor Delbert Luck. That was in 1974.  

Her daughter Jeanette says that her mother is quite a cook even today.

“She hasn’t ever seen a potato she doesn’t like,” her daughter chuckled.

“I used to cook everything,” Lillian quipped.  “Cooked turkeys every Thanksgiving and Christmas – turkeys and hams I cooked whenever the families would all get together.”

One of son-in-law Ray Dowell’s favorites was her corn bread dressing, saying it was the best and adding he had never had it before courting her daughter. 

With a huge grin she announced that her oldest great grandson Colin Hoogendoorn, 24, has been hired as the newest EMT at Manteca District Ambulance.  

“Can you imagine when my parents were born, father in 1882 and mother in 1888 and born onto a farm family in Missouri?” she noted.

 Times were much different then and her father raised cattle.

A birthday party is planned for Lillian on Saturday Nov. 22, at Prestige Senior Living retirement home on East Louise Avenue in Manteca. 

“My health is good.  My legs are out – after 100 years I don’t know why they would go!”