June 13, 2012 - Ruth Ann Shields blew out three candles on June 5 at the Independence Township Senior Center for her 101th birthday.
Ruth Ann Shields prepares to blow the candles for a special birthday. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
Behind her smile are years of experience and joy.
One of her biggest joys was taking children to the Shrine Circus whenever it was in town.
"My second husband was an official with the Shriners," she explained. "I belonged to the Eastern Star, the White Shrine and the Oriental Shrine. I would rent a bus and take between 25-35 crippled children to the circus. They were darling."
She bought them one hot dog and one ice cream. A place was reserved right in the front row for the children.
"It was wonderful," Shields said. "I loved it."
She also worked for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and helped them raise money.
"I did a lot of work for charities," she added.
She still helps out and donates to various charities.
"Every year before Christmas I send envelopes with donations," Shields smiled.
She ventured into the world of flying by taking lessons and flying a Piper Cub.
Her friend took her for a ride and got her to start flying lessons at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.
"It got to where I could get into a plane, take off and land it like nothing," she smiled. "I really loved it. You are in the air and have nothing to worry about. But I did worry about my kids."
She admitted she has only been to the hospital once to have her appendix removed.
"I am living normal," she said. "I went to school. After I went to school, I got a job."
She took over one of her sister's grocery stores before she became a buyer for Ray's Bridal Store.
Shields lives with her daughter June Gulich in Clarkston, and has another daughter, Joanne Buiteweg. She has 13 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
She plays cards several times a week. On Mondays, she concentrates on euchre, on Tuesdays, pinnacle, and the rest of the time she plays bridge.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.