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Woman Quietly Marks 110th Birthday

June 19, 1991

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) _ Nina Rust says she’s ″a tough old owl″ who feels pretty good at age 110, though not quite up to the elephant ride she took to mark her 99th birthday.

″No, I don’t think I’ll ride an elephant,″ Rust said while celebrating her birthday Tuesday at her new home - a nursing home.

Two weeks ago, Rust moved into the Mercy Care Center, where she’s the oldest resident. For 36 years, Rust had lived with one of her 12 children.

Nursing home officials honored Rust with a cake Tuesday for a much more subdued celebration than past years.

After the elephant ride 11 years ago at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Rust celebrated her centennial with her first airplane ride.

At 101, she drove back to Nebraska with her daughter Phyllis McMeekin to visit relatives.

At 103, McMeekin published a book of her mother’s life, ″Dear Reader.″ Rust’s 105th was more sedate, including a dance with her son-in-law. But 106 saw her ride on the back of her grandson’s motorcycle around the trailer park where she lived.

At age 107, Rust had a lens implanted in her eye that allowed her to keep crocheting and playing Scrabble.

Last year, she was featured in the book, ″One Hundred over 100.″ She turned down subsequent invitations to appear on ″The Tonight Show″ and ″Good Morning America″ because she’s hard of hearing.

Rust was born in a sod house in 1881 in Hainesville, Neb. She recalled a tomboy childhood helping her father pull logs out of the Missouri River.

″My dad and I would row along the river until we saw a nice log,″ Rust said. ″Then my dad would turn the oars over to me and I would keep rowing while he would throw an ax in the log. Then we would row over to the bank and tie up the log. That would be our fuel for the summer.″

Ten of her 12 children survive, as do 36 grandchildren, 86 great- grandchildren, 80 great-great-grandchildren and four great-great-great- grandchildren.

″I don’t mind getting old,″ Rust said. ″I’m a tough old owl.″