ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 8, 1920, Sammi Ruth Fowler is just celebrated her 102nd birthday with her friends at Lyndale Abilene Senior Living. With a life full of happy memories and, thankfully, little illness – as Fowler says she’s never, in all her life, even had so much as a headache.

Fowler spoke with KTAB/KRBC and said she made her way to Abilene more than 80 years ago. She and her husband settled under the wide-open Texas sky, on a day she said she remembers fondly.

Sammi Ruth Fowler (2022)

“I’ll never forget stepping out of that car… I said to my husband, I said, ‘oh stop, stop! I wanna get out,'” Fowler recalled. “When we drove in to Abilene, I looked at the sky and I just never wanted to leave… And I haven’t!”

[Aerial View of Tye Army Air Field], Date Unknown; (https://trib.al/1N1VcD1), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting McMurry University Library.

In fact, Fowler’s arrival in the Key City pre-dates a fairly prominent presence. She and her family settled down just a few years before the Tye Air Field was established. The field that would go on to become what we now know today as Dyess Air Force Base.

“The Air Force discovered it [Abilene] after I did,” Fowler said.

Although, settling in Abilene before the Air Force isn’t her only claim to fame. Fowler also holds the distinction of being Abilene’s first woman to work as an accountant. She said although she worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for much of her professional life, she had a bit of difficulty recalling that fact on the spot; “That’s right I forgot. Well, thank you for reminding me!”

While she certainly has a head for numbers, Fowler said it’s on her feet that she finds the most joy in life. She learned to tap dance when she was only three years old, and she’s continued to keep that talent up today.

Fowler with a picture of herself on her 100th birthday (2020)

“I love to dance, I love to dance,” Fowler said as she performed a tap routine count for KTAB/KRBC. “You wanna dance? come on let’s dance!”

While she can’t remark as to the secret for a long life, it’s no secret that she keeps active and greets every day with a smile.

“I was always able to get up in the morning, and go out and do, and enjoy it,” added Fowler. “And so that’s the way I lived all my life.”