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Secret to a long life? At 103, Laura knows

 

October 11, 2017

Contributed

Laura Ashbrenner (at right) enjoys birthday greetings from friends and staff at Columbia Basin Care in The Dalles. She turned 103 on Oct. 3.

What's the secret to a long life? Depends when you ask.

At 103, Laura Ashbrenner says it's all about the love of friends and family. "I have good children, and good friends and family."

Last year, at 102, she attributed long life to beets. "My mother always made me eat vegetables," she said, "lots of beets."

An accomplished fashion illustrator and artist who has dedicated much of her life to capturing the beauty of the Columbia Gorge, Ashbrenner turned 103 years old on Oct. 3.

She was born in Battle Ground, Washington, in 1914. After attending Oregon School of Fine Arts, she built a career as an artist for advertising agencies. In the 1930s and '40s she worked as a fashion illustrator for top Portland retailers, including Meier & Frank department store. Her work frequently appeared in the Oregonian and The Oregon Journal newspapers.

In 1957, Edgar (Ed) and Laura, along with their three children (Vern, Janet, and Marcie) moved to The Dalles. Stunned by the unique landscape, Ashbrenner turned her focus to capturing its beauty. Her artwork is often seen for sale at online auction and collector sites and several of her landscape paintings are on display at Columbia Basin Care, the care facility in The Dalles where she lives.

Laura and Ed were married 75 years. Ed passed away in 2013 at the age of 106.

Known for her sweet nature and quiet talent, Ashbrenner is an inspiration to many. Even now, she's a voracious reader of novels and an avid painter. In fact, just days before her birthday, she had her sketch pad in hand, busily creating a fresh landscape.

What the secret to happiness? "Well," she says, "you just have to enjoy every day as it comes."

 

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