Known to thousands of people from a 1903 museum photo of her and her two sisters kneeling around their mother's knee praying, centenarian Estella Manwaring Brockbank says she's lived a good life.
Brockbank and 300 of her closest family and friends celebrated her birthday through a week of activities, culminating with a party Saturday at the Springville Art Museum.Born Aug. 30, 1895, a spry Brockbank says the secret to her longevity is "eating sweets." Her daughter, Elaine Brockbank Prusse said "she also eats a lot of chicken, fresh vegetables and fruit. And, she has never smoked or drunk alcohol."
Beyond that, Brockbank says she works hard. "I believe in working," she said. "When you turn old, don't just hold your hands in your lap. You're happier when you have something to do."
Brockbank still cares for her own home and has a large rose garden and vegetable garden.
The first of six children of Albert and Charlotte Manwaring, Brockbank spent her early childhood in Provo. She attended Brigham Young University where she received her teaching certificate. She married Wallace W. Brockbank in 1919 and moved to Spanish Fork and later to Springville. They are the parents of three children, Elaine, Reed and Norma, and the grandparents of 12 and great-grandparents of 25.
Together, the Brockbanks have been prominent citizens of Springville and Utah County, especially in educational and civic circles. Wallace was the principal of Springville High School and later served many years as the superintendent of the Nebo School District. He passed away in 1978.
Reminiscing about her younger days, Brockbank said that although they didn't have phones, television or radio, they always had fun.
"We always got a new dress for the Fourth of July, and 25 cents to spend," she said. "The 25 cents would by an ice cream cone, sugar candy, two (carnival) rides, and we'd take home the change."
By today's standards, they would have been considered poor, she said.
"We had all we wanted," she said. "When I was young I had two new dresses a year and one pair of shoes, and that was something.
"In my day you never heard the word vacation," Brockbank said. "Just going to Utah Lake with a simple lunch was a treat. Just to have homemade bread, radishes and onions was fine. We never had a car. We got there by horse and buggy."
Brockbank said that of all the modern conveniences she has now the one item she and her mother would love to have had was an automatic washing machine. "We used to boil our clothes to get them clean."
Brockbank also said that if there is a problem with today's youth, it's that they aren't grateful.
Although she loves life, Brockbank says that some day soon she would like to go to sleep and not wake up. She is most appreciative of her children who have cared for her since her husband's death and for her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brockbank will be honored in October at the BYU Homecoming Spectacular as one of two women selected to receive the Alumni Service to Family Award.