A Sherman woman reigned in her centenary birthday Saturday with a 100-car drive by.
Rose Simonian, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sherman and resident of Celebration Senior Living in Denison, turn 100 Saturday and friends and staff of the nursing facility wanted to make sure her birthday was recognized in a big way.
Simonian was born in 1920 in Bettendorf, Iowa. She was the second of eight children, three boys and five girls.
When Simonian was three years old, her family moved to a farm in southeastern Colorado where her dad purchased 40 acres. He later bought additional land and planted wheat, beans, hay and sugar beets. The whole family worked in the fields.
After graduation, Simonian headed off to college. But while away, a bad hailstorm hit and the family lost all its crops. Simonian had to quit college and come home to help out.
After returning back to Denver, she found a job working on an army base, Buckley Field, as a switchboard operator. The base closed in 1946 and Simonian moved on to a job as a PBX operator for Public Service of Colorado, a gas and light company.
Simonian said she really enjoyed this work and continued in it for 38 years. Twenty-seven of those years she was supervisor of communications in the Denver location and the fringe areas.
Simonian recalled a huge blizzard that struck the Denver area in December 1981, right after Christmas, only days before she was to retire. Many of the phone company employees were not able to get to work and so she stayed for over 36 hours straight to keep the service up and running. The company’s vice president called and told her to go to a nearby hotel and rest, but she chose to stay at her post. The lady that was supposed to take her place went into early labor and had her baby during the blizzard.
Simonian’s love for her work kept her in place and she did all she could for the people of the region.
Over the years, she also worked parttime as a nanny, cleaned houses, and ironed for others to make extra money. When she had free time, she loved to dance and admitted that some of the places she would go waltz and jitterbug were quintessential "honkey tonks."
"Family has always been first with Rose," niece Rhonda Luckett said last week. "She always sent money to family members who were in need and was always there for special events. When my children were born, she was there to help."
Luckett referred to Simonian as her fun aunt saying she took her and her cousin to Disney Land twice. Simonian also took Lucket to visit Simonian’s older sister Margaret in Washington D.C.
"I would go to Denver every summer to stay a week with Rose, and Rose would take me to the big stores in downtown Denver to buy new school clothes and usually a new Barbie doll too," Luckett said. "Rose also took me to see my first movie ’The Sound of Music.’ My mom, Mabel, is Rose’s baby sister. We talked Rose into selling her condo in Denver and moving to Sherman the summer of 2001, just a few months short of 9/11."