Chandler woman celebrates 101st birthday, says secret to happy life is tequila

Mary Flip who lived through wars, the Great Depression and raised six kids, celebrates her 101 birthday in Chandler.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 5:35 PM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- November 2nd is a special day for a Chandler woman celebrating her 101st birthday. Born in 1921, she’s survived a lot. She lived through the Great Depression, multiple wars, had six kids and still maintains her wit and sense of humor. “How do you feel, Ma?” asked Mary Flip’s daughter. “With my hand,” she replied, chuckling.

Not many people live to see 101, but when they do, they’re filled with excitement. “Oh, it’s a flower! Isn’t that pretty?” Flip’s daughter asked. “Yeah,” she replied.

Mary Flip, born in Illinois, spent her early years living through the Great Depression. Flip’s sister and mother died early in her life, and she was the only survivor of her family at age 15. But she soon went on to carry her family legacy. “Having six kids, and being able to cope with it. After all, even now. They’re all grown. Now I can stand back and see them fighting,” said Flip.

But even before then, her life had many interesting twists and turns. At 18, she moved to Mexico, got married, and lived a quiet life as a rancher. Then, once pregnant with her firstborn, she moved back to Chicago, where she switched careers again and became a legendary artist, even recognized by the Chicago School of Art.

“I really like to draw. And I was able to figure out that things change even as you’re drawing them. So, I was able to develop and make them look real. It took time but I had nothin’ else to do except raise a bunch of kids,” Flip said.

With so many years of life behind her, she says the best ones are still ahead, with the help of a little secret. “She asked what your secret to life is…to make it good. Your secret,” asked Flip’s daughter. “Oh, my secret. Hmm, I don’t know. Tequila,” Flip replied.

She’s celebrating a century and a year with her favorite beer, Guinness, and dancing. “Oh, I’ll get up on the table,” Flip said.