Grants Pass woman turns 100, dances into a new century

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Turning 100 is accomplishment by itself, but one Grants Pass woman is making it look as easy as a two-step.

Irene Stein has been a fixture of the Grants Pass Dance Club ever since she moved to Oregon about thirty years ago. Friday, the club laced up their dancing shoes at the Josephine County Fairgrounds to celebrate dancing, and most importantly Irene.

“One of the fellas was doing the Chacha I think it was, and I didn’t know how to do it and this man says to my friend and me why don’t you take dance lessons,” Irene said. “I had such a wonderful time, I kept going and I’ve been dancing ever since.”

The Grants Pass Dance Club has plenty of great dancers, but perhaps none as special as Irene.

“She is just the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met in my life, she is just a marvel,” member, Trudy Love said.

“You’ll be amazed she’s quite a good dancer,” member, Pete Love said.

“She’s an active 100-year-old,” daughter, Madelyn Readmond said.

That’s right, she’s turning 100 years old! Roughly 30 years ago Irene joined the club as a way to meet new friends and stay active.

“It just kept me going,” Irene said.

Even though she’s slowed down just a bit, she still loves the fast dances.

“When I first moved to Oregon I danced about 5 afternoons and evenings a week,” she said.

Irene is the first dancer in the Grants Pass Dance Club to turn 100, and she says her only complaint about the club is her partners don’t spin her enough.

“Men think I’m too old to dance I guess, well I’ve outlived a lot of the people I’ve danced with so people don’t know me now, and I like to dance the fast ones and people just don’t dance the fast ones with me,” she said.

Pretty much the whole grants pass dancing club agrees: dancing keeps them young, especially for Irene. Her best advice is to stay active, be social and most importantly keep dancing.

“I just love dancing,” Irene said.

The big bash Friday was all in celebration of Irene’s birthday Monday. The Grants Pass Dance Club meets about three times a week. When it’s not the holidays, Mondays bring a big band ensemble for a-rockin’ good time. You can find out how you can get involved on their website, grantspassdanceclub.com.

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