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Casino-going ‘firecracker’ celebrates 102nd birthday with dancing, whiskey

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Christopher DeVargas

Lucille Murn celebrates her 102nd birthday among her friends at the Atria Seville Senior Community, Thursday Sept. 27, 2012.

102nd Birthday for Lucille Murn

Karen Hall, at left, hugs Lucille Murn who celebrates her 102nd birthday at the Atria Seville Senior Community, Thursday Sept. 27, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Dancing Lucille Murn turns 102 years old

Lucille Murn sings and dances at her 102nd birthday celebration.

By all accounts, Lucille Murn’s birthday was your typical Las Vegas affair. There was music, dancing and drinks with friends, followed by a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday” and some cupcakes.

Murn seemed unfazed by the attention showered on her by the more than 50 guests at her party. She’s done this before, you see — 101 times to be precise.

Murn turned 102 Thursday, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Her party at Atria Seville senior community in Summerlin started with a surprise song-and-dance routine performed by a group of Bishop Gorman High School students.

Within minutes, Murn was out of her seat, dancing and singing along as a pianist played classic Sinatra tunes. After several songs, Murn ambled over to the bar set up in the corner of the room, took a shot of bourbon and kept on partying.

Murn, a native of Michigan, moved to Las Vegas in the late 1980s to be closer to family. Through the years, she became a fixture at Fiesta Rancho casino, where her wit and extroverted personality have won her many friends.

“She’s a firecracker,” said Karen Hall, a casino host at Fiesta Rancho, where Murn plans to continue her birthday celebration Friday with a trip to the buffet. “I’ve watched her go through 99, 100, 101; I can’t believe she’s at 102.”

Murn’s liveliness surprised some, including Bishop Gorman sophomore Vida Vergara Berkut, who volunteers at Atria Seville with a group of other students.

“When someone told me they were having a birthday party for a 102-year-old, I expected it to be a bit slower,” Vergara Berkut said. “I was amazed. She was standing and dancing; she didn’t want to sit down.”

To those who know her well, Murn’s energy comes as no surprise. Jill Ann Biondo, the engage life director at Atria Seville, described Murn as social and sassy.

“She tells it like it is,” Biondo said.

Murn is coy about the source of her seemingly eternal youth — she doesn’t take any medications, except for the occasional shot of whiskey. She credits her faith and positive outlook on life for keeping her going through the years, which have included two husbands, two children and two grandchildren.

Part of it may be her genes — her 95-year-old sister, Francis DeSimone, sat by her side during Tuesday’s birthday celebration.

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