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'It went by so fast'

Mary Deery doesn't know what she is going to do now that she's 100, but that's never stopped her before. Deery turned 100 years old today. The Jamestown resident has been many things in her life--a student, housewife, mother and worker of many jo...

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Mary Deery doesn't know what she is going to do now that she's 100, but that's never stopped her before.

Deery turned 100 years old today. The Jamestown resident has been many things in her life-a student, housewife, mother and worker of many jobs-something she attributes to her long life.

"I never regretted it, I had an interesting living," Deery said. "Something either worked or it didn't, but I didn't make a fuss about it."

Deery has lived in Ave Maria Village in Jamestown for about a year, and was living at home until she was 99.

Deery has five children, Annette Haugen of Jamestown, William and Clifford John of Fargo, Charles of Grand Forks and Wayne, who passed away in 2015.

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"I can't believe it," Haugen said of her mother's age. "To be that sharp for 100 is really good."

Deery grew up in Windsor and is one of 14 siblings-seven boys and seven girls. Her parents were from Poland, and Deery was the only one of her siblings born in North Dakota.

"My poor mother had 14 kids and she was smaller than me," Deery said.

All that's left in Windsor is a church and a bar, Deery said. It doesn't seem possible that everything there is closed, she said.

Deery said she had to walk 6 miles to Moon Lake School from her house near Windsor, and she and her siblings would cut through a corn field as a shortcut. The farmer didn't like that and put up fences to try to stop them, but they kept doing it until he put an angry bull in the field, she said.

Deery met her late husband, Clifford, while she was working at a grocery store in Jamestown. He worked on the railroad for 37 years, she said. The couple were married at the church in Windsor when Deery was 24, her daughter said.

Haugen said her mom was seeing three guys at once before she was married. She said when Clifford proposed, he couldn't afford a ring so he gave Mary a golden baseball necklace, but she didn't want it, but then saw another girl wearing it and asked for it back.

"You were kinda a wild woman, weren't you?" Haugen said.

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"I played it safe," Deery said.

Deery was married at 6 a.m. at the church in Windsor, and her mother, also named Mary, made chicken soup from scratch to feed the wedding party, she said.

Deery and her husband bought their house in Jamestown for $2,000, Haugen said. Deery lived there for about 77 years, she said.

"It all seems so long ago but it went by so fast," Deery said.

Haugen said her father died when he was 52, so Deery raised her and her youngest brother alone. Deery worked three jobs at once, but always made sure the house was clean before leaving for work, Haugen said.

"She's a pretty amazing woman," Haugen said. "We have a lot of fun with her."

An open house for Deery's birthday will be held at Ave Maria Village on Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m.

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