Madison woman turns 105 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison woman turns 105

MADISON (WKOW) -- Teddy Roosevelt was president. Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity. The average wage was 18-cents an hour. The year - 1905.

"I was born on a Sunday at noon," says Beatrice Davidson of Madison. Bea, as she goes by, turned 105 on Friday. Her memory is sharp; her health is excellent; and up until late last year, Bea lived on her own in a second floor apartment in a building without an elevator.

"I don't know why I've lived this long," she jokes. "It's just the good Lord doing the work, not me."

Bea was born in northwest Iowa. Her father died young and Bea helped her mother raise four boys. She later taught in a one-room school house. Then, in the 1940s her duties changed.

"You just worked every day, every day, 8-hours a day," she says.

During World War II Bea became Rosie, as in Rosie the Riveter. The cultural icon represents women who worked in war factories. Bea helped make B-17 bombers.

"It was huge, a huge thing," recalls Bea. "It was such a big animal!"

According to a family friend, Bea could very well be the last living Riveter.

"So proud, I had a part in that," Bea adds. "I helped make that, even if it was a small part, I helped do it and put it together."

Despite several hardships, Bea says she's led a good life. Although she never had children, she's quick to say kids, today, don't know the meaning of hard work.

"It's too easy, much too easy," says Bea.

The spry 105-year-old enjoys everyday life, and says everything on her to-do list is checked off.

"I don't know what (else) it would be," she says. "I'm pretty content with just what I have."

Bea moved to Madison about 30-years ago to be closer to her brother. Right now, her only family includes a niece and a nephew.

Friday, residents at Madison's Oak Park Place threw Bea a birthday party. The celebration continued into the evening with a special 105 birthday dinner.

Online reporting by Brock Bergey

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