Elsie Pilcher and Virginia Morton cut her 100th birthday cake

Her son and daughter-in-law were having trouble deciding on the perfect present because, really, how often do 100-year birthdays roll around?

Elsie Pilcher was born on August 23, 1910, and after a journey that took her from a farm in South Dakota to Illinois, she arrived in Ahwatukee Foothills 16 years ago.

Dedicated readers might remember her name as she graced the front page years ago as a pinochle champion.

So what did her son Jim Pilcher and his wife, Penny, get for Elsie’s 100th birthday?

“One thing we got her was a bag of 100 marbles,” Jim said. “Because she has still got them all.”

The Pecos Senior Center staged a birthday part for Elsie on Tuesday, Aug. 24, serving cake and presenting her with gifts.

Elsie was asked that if she could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

“No more wars,” she said.

The Chicago Cub fan started going to the Senior Center in Ahwatukee Foothills the year it originally opened and connected with people and met friends through pinochle.

“It reminds me of way back when we used to make our own fun, just sitting around with friends and family,” she said. “When I got here, I started playing pinochle and everyone was just so kind to me.”

So what is her secret to longevity?

“Leading a good, Christian life,” she said.

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