Norma Trowbridge Vuckan will be 100 years old on Dec. 13. She attributes her longevity to exercise, walking, eating sparingly of simple foods — salads and soups, and luck.
It must be the luck of being born on Friday the 13th in 1918 in Pittsburg, PA. It must also be the luck of meeting George Vuckan at Shenandoah College in Virginia, where she studied business.
“When George proposed to me,…all he could promise is that I would never be bored,” says Vuckan. “And he kept that promise.”
They married in haste in an unsuccessful attempt to keep George out of WWII. He kept his promise of giving Norma an interesting life for 65 years, until passing away in 2008. They had no children.
“My husband was half gypsy because we kept moving around,” says Vuckan, an only child with four step siblings.
They ultimately settled in Sunnyvale, where George retired as a social studies teacher from Sunnyvale High School. Norma retired as an administrative assistant from Lockheed Missiles and Space after 18 years of using an electric typewriter.
Early retirement gave them time to expand their world travels, which had begun in 1949, with a trip to Havana and Santa Clara, Cuba. They traveled to Hawaii for their Silver Anniversary. They flew north, south, east, west.
They traveled around the world by Trans-Siberian Railroad in 1984. They cruised for over a decade, through 1997. In 2011, friend Kathie Wood compiled Norma’s travel notes in a spiral-bound book.
“Traveling broadens your vision of the world,” says Vuckan. “We didn’t have a camera. We just remembered things. We traveled simply, staying at local places. We made friends forever.”
Vuckan is recovering from hip surgery after a fall about three months ago. She enjoyed reading and emailing friends on the computer until macular degeneration precluded those pastimes.
She smiles and says, “They’re my own teeth.” Despite hearing loss, she enjoys watching TV — but only CNN.
“I’ve had a good life, a full life,” says Vuckan, who has resided at Villa Serena Retirement Community in Santa Clara for 17 years. “Nothing surprises me anymore, but I get disappointed when people don’t vote for the ones I want.”