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Victoria woman celebrates 105 years (w/video)

By Elena Watts
Dec. 27, 2013 at 6:27 a.m.
Updated Dec. 28, 2013 at 6:28 a.m.


Esther Morfin Trillius celebrated her 105th birthday Friday with friends and family at Homewood Residence in Victoria.

"She's still kickin' a-- and taking names," said her son, Richard Ortiz, 77. "Hell yeah, she's still enjoying life."

Her birthday was Thursday, and she is the only survivor among her siblings, outliving three sisters and two brothers.

Born in McFaddin in 1908, Trillius and her family eventually moved to Victoria so the children could attend school.

Trillius' father worked for the railroad, and her mother cared for her six children in addition to working odd jobs.

"My mother saved her money from washing and ironing and built our home," Trillius said.

The house at 702 E. Constitution St. still stands, said Nancy Cavazos, Trillius' niece.

"I always took it as it came - there was no play because there was always work to do," Trillius said. "I was ready to help Mama all the time."

Trillius finished the ninth grade before she went to work for M.O. Simon, a women's clothing store in Victoria, where she worked for 20 years. She sold womenswear for LuLu's, another local boutique, for an additional 33 years.

"I didn't finish school, but I could talk to people, and I knew people," Trillius said. "We all had jobs to bring money into the house."

Trillius' youngest sibling, Tillie Dominguez, was the first woman to work for DuPont, Ortiz said. She set two precedents as a bookkeeper for the plant because she was also Hispanic.

"All of those Morfin girls had good figures - they were very attractive girls," Cavazos said. "And the fellas weren't bad looking either."

Trillius married and had one son, Richard Ortiz, with her first husband. When he died, she married Gilbert Trillius and had one daughter, Esther Ozuna.

"I married a much younger man," Trillius said. "But he said, 'You're good for 50, 60, 70 more years.'"

And he was right.

The couple remained married for 62 years until his death in 2007.

"My aunt always took care of herself," Cavazos said. "She was not a glutton and did not drink or smoke."

Trillius said her family walked everywhere. They walked to school, to church and to work.

"She's stubborn with a strong work ethic," said her son-in-law David Ozuna. "She stays busy, always wants to work and loves people."

Genetics are most important when it comes to longevity, said Dr. John McNeill with Twin Fountains Walk-In Clinic.

"A healthy lifestyle starting early in life and preventive measures, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, are also important," McNeill said. "Medical science prolongs life, but it is a quality-of-life issue."

Trillius moved into Homewood Residence when she was 101 but did not begin using a walker, which she calls her "Cadillac," until she was 103.

She attends devotion at 9:30 a.m. daily at Homewood and exercise class afterward.

"My genes are better than Levi's," Ortiz said.

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