Blanche Mahaney was born Feb. 15, 1912, the youngest of 12 children to Thomas and Abbie Hopp in Bridgeport, Wash. Blanche's early years were better than most because her dad owned the local general store. Blanche worked in the store as a child.
Following high school, she briefly attended nursing school, but because of ill health, she was forced to quit.
She then went into newspaper work. She continued to love writing and editing; to this day, people remarked on her beautiful penmanship.
Back in Bridgeport, she married Thurman Mahaney, a childhood friend, on Aug. 14, 1931. In a small community of 300 people, they took up farming and raised two daughters, Anita and Sandra.
Thurman became ill and retired early. They moved to Yuma for his health where they operated a mobile home park. Blanche worked in the date orchards, picking and packing the fruit.
The weather was too humid for Thurman's health so they moved to Kingman.
Blanche worked under Title 5 for 34 years, first at the Mohave County Treasurer office, second at the Western Council of Government, and finally in 2003, at the Grand Vista's Cottages Senior Apartments as assistant manager. She continued to work as assistant manager until she was hospitalized three weeks ago.
Blanche loved excitement and adventure. For her 95th birthday, she went to Hawaii, for her 96th birthday, she went for a helicopter ride and loved it. On her 97th birthday, she walked the Grand Canyon West. She wasn't able to go whitewater rafting for her 98th birthday. She had planned to go bungee jumping for her 99th birthday, and for her 100th birthday, she hadn't decided what she was going to do.
In 1999, Blanche received Arizona's Oldest Working Award from Sen. Jon Kyl in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, Blanche again received Arizona Oldest Worker Award, but since she couldn't go to Washington due to a bad hip, Gov. Janet Napalitano came to Kingman to give her the award.
Blanche survived a near-fatal car accident, the shingles, two knee replacements, a pacemaker and a full hip replacement - nothing could keep her down!
Blanche outlived all her siblings and husband of 45 years. He died in 1976. In 1998, her youngest daughter, Sandra, died with Blanche at her bedside.
Blanche is survived by her daughter, Anita; 12 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews, and more friends than you can ever count.
Blanche lived through 17 presidents - Taft through Obama; two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghan conflicts, The Great Depression, War on Poverty and the fall of the Soviet Union.
She was there for Gerald Ford's vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned, and then President Richard Nixon resigned.
Blanche was born before electricity, airplanes, automobiles, radio, telephone, microwaves, computers, paved roads, cell phones, pacemakers, rocket ship to the moon and many more inventions to advancements. The stories she could tell, and through it all, she kept her faith in Jesus.
Blanche was a member of the Kingman Seventh-day Adventist Church for the last 35 years. She held many offices of the church but she enjoyed being Sabbath School secretary and making the schedule for the children's stories. Blanche always told the most interesting children's stories, never using the mic or worrying about time limits.
Blanche was loved by each member of her church and will be truly missed. She left a lasting impression on the members and we will try to live up to the example she left.
Blanche went to sleep in the Lord on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, and is now resting and waiting for her Lord and Savior to return.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, will be a celebration of Blanche's life at the Kingman Seventh-day Adventist Church, 3180 White Cliffs Road (by the water tanks).
All are invited to come and honor this wonderful lady.