Sue Morrow: A century of grabbing life by the horns |

Sue Morrow: A century of grabbing life by the horns

Sue Morrow
For the Nevada Appeal
Courtesy Sue Morrow

It isn’t often that somebody my age experiences a first, but that’s what happened to me recently when I attended a 100th birthday party.

The fete was for longtime Carson City resident Lee H. Burnham and attended by about 20 former golfing buddies and other friends – including former Carson City Mayor Eugene “Doc” Scrivner – and neighbors.

I was amazed at how fit and mentally spry Burnham was. As his wife of 61 years Marion ushered arrivals from the front door into the living room, Burnham stood up from his easy chair and greeted each warmly.

Burnham regaled us with stories about past events, and while we sipped wine he had cranapple juice, explaining that a few years ago on a Thanksgiving he had consumed five martinis, an accomplishment that sent him to the emergency room for treatment of bleeding ulcers.

Burnham’s storied military career in the U.S.. Army, from which he retired as a colonel, took his battalion in World War II to battles on several beach heads, leading to the end of the war in Europe. In postwar Berlin, he served the U.S. military government where he presided over a division of the city.

He was then assigned to the Army’s Presidio in San Francisco during the Korean War before his transfer to Turkey as an adviser. Next it was to Paris where he was assigned to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE.)

The Burnhams have lived in the capital city, where Burnham retired as director of the state Employment Security Department, since 1962.

An avid golfer until in his wife’s words, he “couldn’t connect with the ball anymore,” he now occupies his time on his computer, watching television, especially sports, and reading mysteries.

I’m glad Lee enjoys the computer because he sends me some hilarious, and occasionally risque,

e-mail jokes from time to time.

Burnham said he attributes his longevity to “nice, clean living,” (did I detect a bit of mirth in his voice?) and, with obvious sincerity, “a beautiful wife.”

• Sue Morrow is a longtime journalist and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. She may be reached at