She Just Turned 100 — Bingo!

Tri-City resident celebrates 100th birthday and is honored at Newark Pavilion's Bingo Night.

For more than 15 years, Hattie James has been coming to the Newark Pavillion every Tuesday night to play her favorite game: Bingo.

But there’s more to her than the game of chance.

James, a Fremont resident, was honored Tuesday at Newark Pavilion’s as she celebrated her 100th birthday with her favorite pastime. 

“I’m happy and grateful to be spending today with my family and friends here,” said James who frequents the event with her daughter Sharon Bolivia, 70.

This week, however, her weekly Bingo festivities became a larger family affair.

Her grandson John Bolivia, granddaughter Jody Beaunchamp and adopted daughter Evie Fegler traveled from across the West to accompany James on her 100th birthday.

And her Bingo birthday treats didn’t stop there.

Newark councilmember Luis Freitas, who is also president of the , presented Hattie with free bingo markers, cards and other gear. 

“We love having Hattie here with us every week,” Freitas said.

While busily stamping her Bingo cards, James said she enjoys coming to play Bingo because she “enjoys playing the game with her friends and family.”

And though she’s already 100, she remains sharp and fondly shared her memories of the past 10 decades.

“I’ve done a lot of things during my lifetime,” James said. “I was a bucker for Boeing during World War Two and I was even a cocktail waitress before I got married.”

She got married in 1932 and moved to California in 1955.  She first lived in San Leandro before moving to Fremont, where she lives today with her daughter.

“I love the weather here. It’s warm and pleasant. I love going outside, especially to garden,” James said. “I just love everything. All kinds of plants and flowers.”

And Fegler, her adopted daughter, said James plants everything.

“She’s a master gardener,” Fegler said.

Fegler also said James continues to do a lot of things for herself despite her age.

She still washes her own clothes “and hangs them on the clothesline." James’ favorite thing to do at home, Fegler said, is bake.

Relatives said their favorites include James’ lemon meringue pie, piecrust and chocolate cheesecake.

“I absolutely love baking,” Hattie emphasized. “No one taught me to bake. My first pie was rock hard, but I think by now I think I got it down.”

“You know, I didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy when I was younger,” James added.  “I raised two children on my own, but I think I raised them well. I taught them the difference from right and wrong and they turned out very good.”

James has three generations of family members.  She said she was involved in her great great grandchildren’s lives and they continue to visit her often.

“My greatest accomplishment is my family,” James said.


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