Former Mville resident Warren Bassham turns 100
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:50 AM
MARYSVILLE Turning the page for Warren Bassham can take a while. The former Marysville resident turned 100 years old on Oct. 5, and scores of friends and family turned out to wish him the best.
A music lover and devout Christian, Bassham was honored with a party at the Marysville Golden Corral that saw many friends and family members wishing him the best.
They say the first 100 years are always the toughest, Bassham laughed in his gruff voice.
Bassham was born in Figure Five, Ark. to cotton farmers in the Ozark Mountain foothills, and left home at age 15 after a religious dispute with his Baptist father. The younger Bassham had converted to the Seventh Day Adventist faith and his father would have none of it. So Warren hit the road, running away to Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado with only $2.98 in his pocket, picking cotton to earn enough money to buy some clothes and get a job at a college. He was married twice and has two children, daughter Mauri Wilson and son Len Bassham. A one-eighth Cherokee Indian, Bassham recalled that his parts of Arkansas didnt have electricity back in the days of World War I, and that today he is astounded by the ubiquity and variety of electronic devices. That is the biggest surprise of his long life, he said.
He said he gets asked quite a bit if he has a secret to long life and he just shook his head.
Im at peace with the Lord and all mankind, Bassham said. That peace is worth a lot.
While he wears hearing aids today, his friends were quick to point out that only two years ago, even less, Bassham was tuning pianos, his long-time trade, by ear.
So his hearing is still really good, said friend Valery Buma.
Mary Hilde is a musician with the Marysville church and she noted that Bassham was instrumental in getting a new grand piano for the Adventist congregation years ago. At the time she was down in the dumps, a new widow who had slipped her anchor and needed something to do. Bassham got her in the car and took her to music stores, making Hilde play each keyboard until they found the right one. Hilde is the keyboardist and Bassham played the saxophone, but his fine ears locked in on the sweetest sounding piano in the store and his enthusiasm helped clinch the deal.
Hes a character, a truly wonderful person, Hilde said.
His son Len is 67 years old, fit and active himself, and not surprised at all that his father made the century mark. A mostly vegetarian, Warren will sometimes have his son smuggle him out of the Everett care facility where he lives to get a verboten bite. His father has never smoked or drank, he added.
He was always healthy, Len Bassham said. If anything, Im surprised he in as bad a shape as he is.
The oldest of seven children, Bassham was only 17 years younger than his mother but was 25 years older than his youngest sister, Len added. During his years wandering the west, Bassham worked as a salesman without peer, according to his son.
No matter what he was selling he was good at it, Len said.
That included his devout faith in the Seventh Adventist denomination, and after his father died in 1934 Warren systematically set out to convert all of his siblings to the faith. He did.
Like I said, hes a good salesman, his son laughed.
For this towns newest centenarian, he offers the following advice to people just starting out on their lives. Fasten on a purpose and work toward it.
Theres too many kids out there running wild; they dont know what they are looking for, Bassham said.
In addition, people should just love one another, he added.