People have always been an important part of Dorothy Elowson's life.

The former Superior business woman celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday, April 3.

"Anyone asked me how old I was, my favorite statement was '39 and holding,'" Elowson said as she recalled the people who have touched her life - seven brothers and three sisters she grew up with in Billings Park, the people she met when she and her husband, John, owned the Saveway Market at 2708 N. 21st St. in Billings Park, and her family, a son, Billy, who went on to become a school teacher, her daughter-in-law and the "daughter she never had," Roxana, a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.

And she remembered some she lost along the way: her husband of more than 25 years, John Elowson, and her son, Joey.

"Many things can happen," Elowson said. "I lost a son, my little boy ... to me, that was the biggest thing to me, that God was in my life."

Elowson credits God for her longevity. For many years, she said she attended Hope Congregation Church.

"I worked for a few years as a bookkeeper for Kelly Furniture Co., and then we bought a store on North 21st Street," Elowson said. "We managed that and took care of that for 23 years."

Her husband, John Elowson was the store's butcher, which sold everything, but she specialized in health foods and supplements, Elowson said.

"I got to know a lot of people and it was interesting," she said.

During that time, she said she found herself helping poor families, particularly people with disabilities.

"I got to know quite a few handicapped people, and I'll tell you, you really find out what life is all about," Elowson said. She said she remembers a woman in East End she used help with cleaning and cooking once a week because the woman's hands were gnarled.

"Her husband, he loved mashed potatoes, so I made mashed potatoes for him," she said. She said the couple passed the potatoes to her first and she set them down in front of herself, prompting the woman's husband to protest.

"Little things of life are funny," Elowson said.

Elowson said she joined the Superior Flower Club, serving as its president for a while, and she worked with a youth group; she said three members of that group became preachers.

"That made me feel good because at least you knew you had somebody listening; they were good kids," Elowson said

Being involved in the community was important to Elowson.

"I kept myself busy in little affairs in Superior to get to know people," she said. Elowson said she worked for the city as an election official in Billings Park.

"She is a grand lady," said Bob Plunkett, who lives with his wife at Harmony House assisted living, where Elowson is living now.

"I hope I left something good that they'll remember," Elowson said.