Olathe & Southwest Joco

Special events mark 100 years

Louene McBride was given a parade at The Gables assisted-living center in Overland Park for her 100th birthday.
Louene McBride was given a parade at The Gables assisted-living center in Overland Park for her 100th birthday. Special to the Star

It’s not every day you turn 100, and Louene McBride’s friends and family made sure the week was memorable.

The crowning glory for the centenarian sports fan was being at Kauffman Stadium July 7 for the Royals’ game against the Tampa Bay Jays in which Paulo Orlando hit a walk-off grand slam for the win.

The owners of her assisted-living facility, The Gables in Overland Park, treated her to a day at the K in a suite for her birthday. McBride even got a very special kiss —from Royals mascot Sluggerrr.

McBride has been a Royals fan for more than 35 years and follows every game. If the team wins, she wears a Royals shirt the next day.

“They have to earn it. I won’t wear it the day of the game,” McBride said.

She does the same for the University of Kansas and Kansas State basketball teams. If multiple teams win a game on the same day, she’ll alternate shirts to honor them all the following day.

“She’ll call me and tell me why they won or lost and which player did well,” said Carole Becker, McBride’s niece.

McBride’s fellow residents at The Gables haven’t said too much about her sports attire.

“They just know that I’m the crazy one,” she said.

Her favorite current Royals player is Alex Gordon, but she’s also been a fan of George Brett and Frank White.

In addition to celebrating at the game, McBride had a more personal celebratioN July 11, when almost all of her family members came to The Gables and put on a parade around the parking lot. About 65 people came to take part in or watch the festivities.

Kids played kazoos, blew bubbles and waved fans with McBride’s picture on them.

Teens and adults held signs proclaiming McBride “Queen Louene.” McBride rode in a convertible at the front of the group, as the parade made several laps around the parking lot. She wore a tiara from granddaughter Kim Erickson.

McBride’s favorite fast food comes from the Olathe branch of Chik-fil-a, and the store’s cow mascot came by to take part in the parade.

McBride has lived in Overland Park for about 10 years. Before that, she grew up in Halstead, near Wichita, then spent most of her adulthood in Hays, Kan. McBride worked as a nurse for 40 years and served as an Army nurse in Denver during World War II.

She said she’s made it to 100 by “taking one day at a time.” Good genes have helped, too — her own mother lived to be 101, and her grandmother made it to age 94.

She keeps busy playing cards at The Gables. Her favorite used to be canasta, but now she plays Rummikub.

According to Becker, when McBride’s great nephew was a teenager, he said, “She’s sure a nice lady, but when she plays cards, she’s Mean Louene.”