Oldest Worker Award Sally Gordon Age 101

101-year--old Sally Gordon listening to speakers - doesn't she look elegant? (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
101-year--old Sally Gordon listening to speakers - doesn't she look elegant? (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Sally Gordon Age 101 Wins Oldest Worker Award

At the age of 101, Sally Gordon won America's Outstanding Oldest Worker Award for 2010, at a ceremony in Lincoln, Nebraska. She was honored at the State Capitol as America's "Outstanding Oldest Worker" by Experience Works, a non-profit group that helps older workers find jobs and new careers.

Footnote: The Nebraska Capitol building had not even been built yet when Sally was born in 1909.

Sally Gordon has been in the work force for 84 years. For the last 26 years, she has been employed at the same job - Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms, or "red coat" for the state of Nebraska, working in the Nebraska Legislature while it is in session.

She became the State Capitol's first female assistant sergeant-at-arms – referred to as a "red coat" because of their bright red suit coats – at age 75. The red coats deliver written messages to senators from lobbyists during floor debate and generally maintain order during sessions and committee hearings.

During sessions that last from four to six months, the red coats work until the hearings and debates end, sometimes into the night. During recent sessions however, Sally was allowed to leave at 5 p.m. so she wasn't walking home after dark.

At work, Sally assists with the day-to-day operations of the Nebraska Legislature when it is in session. In her previous job, she was a secretary for three Nebraska governors as well as a model.

Yes, Miracles Happen Every Day but Sally Gordon is the Real Miracle

This may not be Sally's favorite photo - she said it makes her look too "old"
This may not be Sally's favorite photo - she said it makes her look too "old"

"I used to be a model," Sally said. "Now I feel like a model T." Sally decided to become a model at the age of 56, and lost 30 pounds to get the job at the old Hovland-Swanson store in Lincoln. She didn't quit modeling until four years ago at the age of 97.

Sally Gordon has a Phyllis Diller laugh that rises and explodes into a high-pitched guffaw. She eats her food very slowly with chopsticks in order to stay slim. And she walks everywhere, typically wearing an elegant, wide-brimmed hat that shades her from the sun.

Her constantly positive attitude, her disciplined diet and her active lifestyle all help explain why she is still working at the age of 101. Sally says she doesn't understand people who sit around waiting to die. In fact, to stay active, she passes up offers of rides on her walks to and from the grocery store and pharmacy.

Now that remarkable career has received national recognition. It’s not her first award either. In 2006, Sally had been named the state of Nebraska's outstanding worker.

Sally received this new national honor with wonderment and joy. "It's a good life. I can't believe all the things that have happened to me," she said. "It kind of puts me in awe."

Those things include working for three Nebraska governors and meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and actors, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, and also appearing in People magazine herself.

She raised four children with her late husband, Merle. Now, she has seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Sally says she has no plans to retire and advises young people “to try to learn new techniques, listen and be kind to co-workers." Now that's the voice of experience!

"Life is very precious. You have to use every moment," she said.

An official with Experience Works said that Sally will be a great role model for older workers. "She remains very active and welcomes new challenges – on and off the job. We hope her story will inspire older individuals everywhere to stay active," said the executive director of program operations.

The organization also honored 104-year-old Emilio Navarro in Ponce, Puerto Rico, last week as its male outstanding worker for 2010. The last surviving member of the Negro American baseball league, he still works 30 hours a week as comptroller of a company he founded in 1952.

It's the second time a Nebraskan has won the outstanding senior worker award. Mildred Heath, now 102, claimed the honor in 2008. Heath recently had to stop working as social news reporter for her hometown paper in Overton, Nebraska when she fell and broke her wrist.

Sally intends to keep working as long as she is able. And now she has a new job - being a role model for older workers. "This represents America. It still hasn't hit me," she said, launching one of those high-pitched laughs as she talks about possibly meeting Jay Leno or the president. "It's all I can dream of. I hope I can live up to it."

You have already lived up to it, Sally, God bless.

Important Footnote: Sally Gordon finally retired in April, 2011 at the age of 102. She said she 'wanted to retire while she was still young.' She passed away on Valentine's Day of 2012 six weeks before her 103rd birthday.

© Copyright BJ Rakow 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Enlightening information about interviewing, networking, writing resumes and cover letters and negotiating. But fun to read.

   

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Comments for Oldest Worker Award Sally Gordon Age 101 80 comments

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

W O W ! would you believe that...


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Simply amazing! More power!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

A terrific and inspiring story. Someday you'll hear about me working past age 100 because it will take that long to pay off the house. Just kidding--sort of.

Jokes aside, this is indeed an amazing story, and it is nice to see someone going strong and enjoying life, regardless of age.

Mike


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Mike, that's funny!.....

This is a remarkable story. I cannot but help to think : "And when they are 100, they will be considered babies:

Did we somehow got passed the end times, and these amazing people are the first of the new world, where we all will live until 900 again?

If that be the case, Mike can think about a second bond! lol


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

What an inspiration!!

OMG..She looks fantastic!! And such energy!! We need to know what she eats :-)

I love this, drbj: "I used to be a model," Gordon said. "Now I feel like a model T."

I love model T. It is in my mind the realization of one man's tenacity and will. It is beautiful, sleek, and an icon of an era.


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

What a classy lady! And what a goal to aspire to. I so hate hearing older people (55-70ish) talk about how old they are, and how they should retire, because they are not needed anymore. Ugh! This beautiful woman is such a role model, for all ages.


Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

This is so amazing, thanks for sharing.


timorous profile image

timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

Just goes to show..your brain will turn to pudding if you're not active. You need to keep your brain engaged with new stuff constantly. A relaxed, worry-free, positive attitude is also enormously beneficial. Being nice to people is mutually beneficial too. That's how she keeps going, I think.

Way to go Sally!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

The thing that I take away from this has to do with self interst. I am 62, so it just might be possible that I have few more years left :-))

It just might be possble that I shall be reading your hubs this time next year! WOW, just imagine :-))


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

What an interesting and fascinating article. Like De Greek it gives me hope that I have a good few decades left in me yet!

Amber:)


dashingclaire profile image

dashingclaire 6 years ago from United States

Thanks for supporting this awesome woman w/your hub!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

To think that we all have a chance. I wonder what her magic formula was? She looks amazing for her age and what a career 84 years in the work force and becoming a model at 56. So anyone who complains about their lot in life just needs to read this hub and read for themselves that it's in all of us, we just have to do everything in moderation and work hard and rewards are there for us. Great hub, really enjoyed the read. Bravo to Sally Gordon


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, samsons1 - That Sally is a remarkable lady, isn't she. WOW is exactly the right word to describe her. Thanks for your visit.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, holle - you are so right - she is amazing and so elegant. An unbelievable woman and role model for us all.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Mike, for recognizing how inspiring Sally is and commenting. It's such a pleasure to read and write about someone who is so special and such a great role model for the rest of us.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, equealla - I love your musing about that perhaps we have passed the age of Aquarius and are entering the age of Methuselah where we will all live productive lies way beyond 100. From our lips to God's ears, as my loving Gramma used to say.


FGual profile image

FGual 6 years ago from USA

Hooray for Sally, she is beautiful inside and out, and a classy dresser too.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Melinda. It's funny you mentioned wondering what Sally eats. I thought the very same thing. Whatever it is, she eats it with chop sticks so that it takes longer to consume. That habit probably keeps her from eating as much at a meal as the rest of us.

We have something else in common, you know, our love of the Model T. My husband once owned one when he was a teenager and paid the enormous sum of $75 for it. Too bad I don't own it now!

I appreciate your visit and your comments as always.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, Ivorwen, m'luv - how nice to have you visit. You are absolutely right - Sally is a role model for both men and women of all ages.

Age to me has always been nothing more than just a number - it's what you think, how you feel, and whether you surround yourself with other positive people. Like you and me! Thank you for your comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Putz - thank you for visiting. It's my pleasure, believe me.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

timorous - you are right on the money with your comments and echoing what I have believed my entire life. A positive person never forgets to be nice to others. A negative person never remembers.

And optimism certainly seems to be a tremendous benefit for aging gracefully. Thanks for your visit.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Well, Dimi dear, you have at least 39 more years to enjoy life and I will be happy to guarantee it for you if you agree to guarantee I'll be here as well to read your hubs and your novels. Note the plural for the last word!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Amber - with your name I can promise you, you will be around forever. Note: Years before you were born, a very popular work of fiction was written titled "Forever Amber."

So you can see your name is a guarantee of longevity.

Thanks for stopping by.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Claire, your hub which is shown at the top on the left under "Related Hubs" is my inspiration.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, FGual, nice to meet you. You noticed! Sally is very elegant and classy and appears to have taken very good care of herself. Thanks for visiting.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, saddlerider, for your perceptive comments. Yes, we can all learn much from this story of Sally's life - particularly from her staying power of 26 years in the same job. That must be some kind of a record.

Evidently, she never has seen herself as too old to do something new since as you mentioned, she became a model at the age of 56. What a woman!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Very inspiring story- and you did a terrific job on it!!!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I love it - "I used to be a model," Sally said. "Now I feel like a model T."

At least I have something to strive for, eh? I could win an award as the oldest living medical transcriptionist - and with both hands working! Or I could go for the oldest woman to step on a sled with malamutes pulling - of course I probably won't look anywhere near as good as Sally - before or after.

Great job and it is interesting that Navarro is still going strong. Good heavens - 104! And we complain about being 56+ and Bob is 64! I shall have to show him this with his breakfast of champions and tell him to get with it!


timorous profile image

timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

Hi again drbj; Thought you might you and fellow readers might be interested to see and read about "Hurricane Hazel" McCallion, the long-serving Mayor of the city of Mississauaga, just west of Toronto. At 89, she's still going strong..a fiesty old girl who tells it like it is. Check out this (2005) video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obLR44wVJ2U

or this bio:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_McCallion


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Chris, for the visit and the gracious comment. It is not at all difficult to write an inspiring story when your subject is someone like remarkable 101-year-old Sally.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Audrea. Sally may be older than the rest of the work force in America but it hasn't caused her to lose any of her homespun wit. The "Model-T Ford" remark is priceless.

I don't know about the oldest medical transcriptionist award for you, AK, too much competition methinks.

But the oldest Malemute sled driver - now that's a real opportunity. Go for it!

Tell Bob to eat his Wheaties with chopsticks - seems to be working well for Sally. Will let you all know if I learn what Emilio Navarro eats for breakfast. Jamon y huevos?


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, timorous, for sharing the video and bio of Hazel McCallion, who is the 89-year-old mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the sixth largest city in that county. She has been Mississauga's mayor for 32 years, holding office since 1978, and is called "Hurricane Hazel" for her vibrant outspoken style of no-nonsense politics. What a woman!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

What a great story. If only we could all live that long and be healthy enough to still get up every morning and go to a job, let alone WAKE UP. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Yep, Jim, you made a great point there. Working all day is hard enough but it's the getting up in the morning that's the toughest.

I'm just happy to wake up, period! May we all emulate Sally and live to be at least a healthy 101.


SilverGenes 6 years ago

If I wasn't inspired before, I am now! Who wakes up one day at 56 and says 'I think I'll lose a little weight and become a model"? Apparently, Sally Gordon does and I am floored! She's amazing! Thank you for this truly awe inspiring story -fantastic!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Alexandra - If I had created this story as a work of fiction, few people might believe it. What is so amazing is that it is all TRUE and Sally is still enthusiastic energetic, WORKING, elegant, and beautiful at the age of 101.

You are so welcome. Now we have Betty White and Sally Gordon as lovely role models.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

as always this is cool and wonderful to read, and I do hope that you will get to that great age and be as famous as her, you are already hard working so there isn't anything to fear about that!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Ah, Becca, what a lovely wish. I;ll try to get there if you'll go along, too. Thank you for the inspiring comments - you are much appreciated.


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

Wow! I wonder how she keep herself active at this age.

Thanks for sharing it with us.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for stopping by, jk, it's my pleasure. It appears that Sally never rides to work or to the store. In fact, she refuses rides from co-workers and friends. Instead she walks everywhere.

And we know she has the will power to refuse fattening foods; after all, she lost 30 pounds to get the modeling job. What a woman!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I think it would be more than interesting - her lifestyle and food. Anyone finding out let me know. I think I end up working till 101


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, hello. I'm with you - let's find out more about what Sally eats and spends her time when she isn't working. I will guarantee your longevity to 101 if you can do the same for me. OK?


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Thanks for share about this woman. I like her biography. I learn much from Sally Gordon. I thought she was a strong woman. I saw her dedication in her work. Good information. Vote this Up.

Prasetio


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, prasetio, for your visit and kind words. There is much to admire about Sally, and yes, you are absolutely right - she is a very strong woman. And elegant, too.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia

A remarkable woman... Sally Gordon. Thank you for bringing her to HubPages. We can all learn a thing or two from her lifestyle and positive attitude. Voted up!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

She is an amazing lady! Thank you for sharing her story with us.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

That's my plan and I intend on living till oh about 115 then I'll retire. I love Love LOVED this amazing and inspiring story of Sally Gordon at age 101 oh my she be radically and abundantly blessed with health and joy as she ventures into many more years. Peace :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, jason, for the "voted up" rating. I agree with you, Sally is unbelievable and I'm certain her positive attitude has contributed in large measure to her lifestyle and longevity.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Pamela, for visiting and commenting. It was my pleasure to share this inspiring story of Sally Gordon - a real-life legend.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

What a lovely prayer for Sally, katie. You are blessed for saying/writing it. I wouldn't be surprised if she, too, is aiming for 115.

And if I get there before you (guaranteed), I promise to wait for you. Peace and love to you, too.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi drbj, She has a good life, and yes she is elegant, she deserve the award and you as well for bringing us her story. Thanks, Maita


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Maita, it has been my pleasure to share this story about such a classy and elegant lady who has been such a positive role model for the rest of us. Thanks for your thanks and your visit and your comments. :)


nikmaya62 profile image

nikmaya62 6 years ago

Powerful woman,,, great drdj... thanks for sharing.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, nikmaya, Sally Gordon is a powerful role model for us all. Thanks for the visit and the kind comment. It's my pleasure.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

OK - so tomorrow I start using chopsticks when I eat! Amazing hub - just love it. What a woman - very inspired by her. I feel the same way and I continue to feel young and ignore the numbers. Well written and voted up and awesome (like you). Thank you so so so much.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so welcome, vocalcoach. It is indeed my pleasure. I, too, have begun to employ Sally's chopstick mode - at least when I eat Asian food.

She is, as you say, both amazing and inspiring and a much needed role model for us all, young and old. And I know about "old" having been around since the earth first started to cool.

Thanks for visiting and the very considerate comments. Love the "awesome like me" statement.


frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 6 years ago

What a wonderful hub drbj. I (sadly) lack older folk in my life and would love to be adopted by a lonely grandma. I miss mine much, no matter how much time passes. She had a wonderfully interesting life, always had an opinion - I adored her.

For those in your hub and the many others unsung and unknown, they're worthy of the admiration of us all.

Great hub once again, as always :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Welcome back, Andria, how nice to have you visit again. Sally Gordon is a most amazing woman and we would all do well to emulate her positive spirit and energy.

My deepest sympathy that you don't have older family role models currently in your life. I would be happy to offer myself as a substitute - not as a role model, of course - but as someone much, much, much older who has had many, many, many interesting experiences and always, always, always has opinions.

Thank you for the kind words. Don't forget to visit "Fokk University" - I had you in mind as Chair of the Dept. of Readin' and Writin'.


lex123 profile image

lex123 6 years ago

Wow...! Thanks drbj, for writing about this wonderful lady. More people should meet this amazing lady through your hub. It will be a great inspiration to others.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, lex, thanks for stopping by and your gracious comments. The pleasure has been mine. Yes, Sally is an amazing woman so let's spread the word to inspire everyone over 60. No, let's make that everyone over 40!


Sally Gordon 5 years ago

So pleased to find this link...my loving sister sent it to me...and I am so honored to share the name with this remarkable woman...what a great goal for all of us!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

What an honor - thank you for your visit, namesake of Sally Gordon. We are honored by your visit. May you enjoy a long pleasant life just like Sally.

And thanks to your loving, and lovable, sister.


lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 5 years ago from Virginia

What a remarkable lady! Fantastic hub.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, lovelypaper, for stopping by. Yes, Sally is a remarkable amazing lady and a great role model for us all. Thank you for your "fantastic hub" comment - that's one of my favorites to read.


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 5 years ago from USA

this is a wonderful hub and I thought the lady at my bank was the oldest working person. She is 83 I think. Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope I can be like this and still look as good as she does. She just has it in her bones.....I think!!!!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Linda - do hope all is well with you, my dear, and thank you for the "wonderful hub" comment.

Isn't Sally amazing? Still working at the age of 101 and looking so elegant and beautiful.

I agree, she may have it in "her bones." Here's wishing the same for the two of us. I do know that what she does have in addition to wit and class, is a positive sense of self and an optimistic spirit. Here's wishing the same for both of us.


travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 5 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

What an inspirational lady drbj! Thanks for writing about her in your wonderful way.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, travelespresso - Delighted you enjoyed reading about inspirational Sally Gordon - isn't she unbelievable? And thanks for commenting in your wonderful way about my writing. You are much appreciated.


Snow Bamboo 5 years ago

Hi, drbj, Thank you very much!Sally Gordon's elegant image has been kept in my mind. Voted up!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

It's my pleasure, Snow Bamboo. How nice to meet you. Yes, Sally is elegant and classy and an extraordinary role model. Thank you for visiting. You might like to take a look, too, at my two hubs about Betty White.

And thanks for the up rating.


ournote2self profile image

ournote2self 5 years ago

Wow, what an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you for finding Sally, ournote2self, nice to meet you and welcome to Hubpages. Yes, Sally is an exceptional inspiration for the rest of us. As to sharing, no thanks are necessary. Entirely my pleasure.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Such a beautiful hub about a fearless woman with beauty, brains, and stamina. Go, Sally, go. I applaud you greatly.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

So nice to meet you, gm. Delighted you found Sally (and me). Yes, she is a fearless lady with all the positive qualities and it was my pleasure to 'applaud' her with this tribute.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

I'm definitely going for 100+. So I'm going shopping for a hat like hers! Wow.

I still need to read your article. I was just so overwhelmed by her lovely appearance, I couldn't wait another second!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

What an elegant, vital, inspiring lady!!

I've always planned to go for it, but her example of actually accomplishing it and still going strong is like a shot of positivity and pizzazz!

btw - if she was born in 1909, she's now 103, though she may have been 101 when she received the award.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You would be positively ravishing, Nellieanna, in a wide-brimmed hat like the black and white one Sally sports in the photo. Yes, absolutely, I wholeheartedly support your going for 100++. Why not? I plan to.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Sally was all that you describe, Nellieanna ... elegant, vital, inspiring, positive and loaded with pizzazz.

Yes, she was 101 when she received the award. I just added a footnote that she retired at 102 and passed away in February of 2012 six weeks before she would have been 103. May she rest in peace.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Yes. I've read more about her and find her such a shining, glowing example! Wonderful lady!! Thank you for introducing us to her!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

My pleasure, m'dear. Sally is and was an outstanding role model for the rest of us to try to emulate.

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