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October 1, 2014

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Pair celebrates more than a century of life

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Diana Cox / Staff

Jeanne Deschamps, 105, left, and Janet Hurst, 104, celebrated their birthdays at the Boulder City Hospital with family and friends. Deschamps was born Nov. 16, 1903 and Hurst was born Nov. 23, 1904.

Janet Hurst and Jeanne Deschamps both celebrated birthdays this month with friends, gifts and cake. But they were not the usual birthday parties.

Celebrating another year in the lives of two women who have already lived more than a century does not happen every day.

Deschamps was born Nov. 16, 1903, in Dijon, France. Hurst was born Nov. 23, 1904, in Battle Creek, Mich. Both women live at the Boulder City Hospital's long-term care unit.

Hurst danced the Charleston in her youth, she said.

"That was all we did was dance. If I had a date that didn't like to dance, then I didn't like him," she said.

Hurst's daughter, Donna Hague, said she believes her mother's positive attitude is what has given her such a long life. She also said her mother is not and never has been a worrier and exercised often when she was younger.

She held many jobs, including homemaker, secretary and driver of a bookmobile.

Deschamps moved from France with her daughter Francoise La Rocco to Sherman Oaks, Calif., in 1955. She owned a grocery store during World War II, managed a restaurant and worked at Fisher Pen Co. in Boulder City until the age of 93. At 105, she is a great-great-great-grandmother.

Deschamps' only husband died when her daughters were 12 and 19, said La Rocco, who told her mother's story as Deschamps listened. She gave birth to a stillborn son, after having her back broken in order to turn the baby the correct way in the birthing canal, and she lost a third daughter at the age of 3, La Rocco said. She also endured the hardships that were part of living in Europe during both world wars.

La Rocco like Hague, believes her mother's attitude that has gotten her so far.

"She always overcame, she always had a positive attitude," La Rocco said.

Deschamps lived on her own until 2001, when she moved into the long-term care wing of the hospital.

Hurst lived with her daughter until about one month ago.

Diana Cox can be reached at 990-8183 or [email protected].

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