Everyday Heroes: Centenarian still working & keeping people laughing

Jerry Boldenow always keeps 'em laughing at Scappoose Senior Thrift Shop.

They say 40 is the new 20. By extension, it seems 100 must be the new 50, right?

A recently-minted centenarian in Scappoose may have something to say about that. But, then again, Jerry Boldenow has a lot to say about a lot of things.

"I always tell people, me and the Lord's got a working agreement," says Jerry. "He takes care of me. Me being human, I louse it up for him pretty regular. If he wasn't a forgiving God, I'd be in a heap of trouble."

Jerry is our Everyday Hero because, at 100 years old, he's still working hard, spending several days a week running the register and sharing his stories at the Scappoose Senior Thrift Shop.

When we caught up with Jerry, he was sitting back with his feet up, holding court with his customers and co-workers.

"I'm too old to fight, and too crippled up to run," he says, "so I just sit here and take the money."

"I know he loves to work here," his daughter, Beverlee Saum, says. "He would be devastated if he couldn't be here with his girls. They love him and he loves them."

Those "girls" are sometimes 30 or more years younger than Jerry. He's old enough to be their dad, too.

"I like to get along with people," says Jerry. "I don't tell dirty jokes. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings."

But sometimes, Jerry admits he doesn't know when to pipe down.

"They say 'if your mind's in doubt, put your mouth in neutral.' And that's me. I don't put my mouth in neutral."

Jerry's family, his friends, and his co-workers have all been throwing him parties, giving him gifts, and bringing him treats. Jerry especially likes peanuts.

"I'm like a squirrel with nuts," he says.

"Just like a squirrel," his daughter agrees.

The store keeps Jerry busy, but nothing like he used to be. After serving in the military, he worked at the St. Helens Pulp and Paper Mill. His first week there was a big one in his life.

"I went down and applied for a job on Thursday, went to work on Friday, and met my wife on Saturday," he recalls.

On top of his job at the paper mill, Jerry ran a farm near Goble, where he raised his own beef cattle, hauled all his own hay, and started a family.

He says hard work is his secret to a long life that's still going.

And we asked him: what does it feel like to be 100? And his answer is classic Jerry.

"No different than it did when I was 50," he says with a smile. "Life just keeps going."

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