SARASOTA, Fla. — Virginia Blake has had enough life experiences to make up several lifetimes.
At 105, Virginia still lives an active and vibrant life. She is known for her love of music and dressing up.
"I feel like I can do anything. Whatever I want to do, I'm going to do it, you know."
She is also known for her giving spirit and commitment to serving others through volunteering.
Some of her current hobbies include playing Bridge and Canasta, reading, and making new friends. Virginia has three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
When asked what she thought about turning 105, she said, "I'm shocked. I can't believe it. You know, I don't feel any different, but I know that I am."
Family is very important to Virginia.
When asked about her relationship with her son and his wife, Nancy, Virginia said, "I don't think of it as a relationship. You know, they're my kids."
The Sarasota resident was born to Lena and Angelo Pappas at her grandmother's home on February 13, 1914, in Bushnell, Illinois.
She had several impressive accomplishments even during her younger years and was freshman class president, editor of the Hi-Life newspaper, and served as the editor of her school yearbook at Bushnell-Prairie City High School.
Virginia went on to attend the University of Illinois, where she was a sorority member of Alpha Gamma Delta. She would meet William L. Blake, her soon-to-be husband, at the university and they were married on September 11, 1933.
The newlywed couple moved to Chicago, where their first son, Bill Jr. was born in 1938.
"She's a great role model," Bill said of the birthday girl and his mother. "Because, as you can see, she's very positive, she doesn't think of herself as old."
The couple would live in Chicago for the next nine years until William, a Marshall Fields buyer and a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, was called to serve in War War II in 1942.
Virginia and her son moved in with her parents, where she volunteered and trained as a Red Cross Grey Kady at Camp Ellis, while her husband served in the 1st Infantry Division in Europe.
Virginia and William lived quite an adventurous life together, even escaping the deadly LaSalle Hotel fire from the 19th floor in 1946.
Willam became a Captain in the army in 1946 and their second son, Richard, was born at Ft. Riley, Kansas in 1947. The military couple lived on many different bases across the country and world, including Kansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, and Paris.
William passed away in 1965 and Virginia continued working as a Postmistress for the U.S. Soldiers and Airmen's home in D.C. for eight years. She became president and a lifetime member of the Illinois State Society in 1966, just a few years after her husband had served as president.
Virginia is known for her volunteer work and has served in multiple service organizations in the Arlington area for over 45 years. She was elected by her peers to serve in multiple associations, including the Virginia Silver-Haired Legislature and the Virginia State Society.
She has received several service awards, including the AARP Community Service Award in 1988 and the Arlington County Community Service Award in 2011.
And finally, the long-awaited question: Her secret to longevity?
"I don't have a secret."
She went on to say, "I do things that please me and you know, at my age, I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing."
We want to make sure we wish the happiest birthday to quite an awe-inspiring woman!
Keep on inspiring, Virginia!
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