Music softly played in the background as one picture after another slowly swiped across the screen. There were 103 pictures to be exact – some were small, others were large; some were black and white pictures while others were color. For Reva Webb these mattered little in comparison to the memories that each picture held - a collection of memories from her 103 years of life.
“I never thought I would live this long,” said Reva with a slight laugh. “It’s nothing I did.”
For the last 12 years Reva has lived with her youngest daughter Kay Downey in SaddleBrooke where her eldest daughter, Joan Browning and her son, Bill Webb, frequently visit her. She is a native to Arizona and was only two years old when Arizona became a state.
Although, a long life is not something Reva could have predicted, family members of the gentle and soft-spoken woman are thankful and see her life as a gift and a blessing.
“She’s just a very good example to us and she is what girls need an example of,” said 82-year-old Joan. “Anything she put her mind to and wanted to do, she did.”
After graduating from high school, Reva attended Eastern Arizona College for two years until becoming pregnant with her first child. It wasn’t until after her three children had gone through college and graduated with degrees that Reva decided to go back to school and finish what she started. She graduated with an education degree in 1964 at the age of 49.
“You get out of things only as much as you put in it,” said Reva. “I value education so it was important for me to finish.”
Reva did not limit her education just to a college classroom. After her husband passed away Reva traveled the world visiting different states, 21 countries in Europe, Canada, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, China and a cruise around South America with her daughters. She also educated herself in the fine arts by taking oil painting lessons in her early 70s. Having never painted before, Reva was pleasantly surprised by how well her artwork turned out.
“I just took some lessons and just got hooked to it,” said Reva. “I don’t know why I was interested but I loved doing it.”
Along with her determined spirit, Reva is best known for her gentleness and love toward her family.
“She never raised her voice. Reprimand? Yes, but never in a way that would be abusive,” said 75-year-old Kay. “I think in that way she’s become a matriarch in the family and an inspiration. Those aren’t just my thoughts but her grandchildren and great grandchildren have said that as well.”
Reva’s response to her daughters comment shows her modesty, “I just had good kids.”
Until a few years ago, Reva was often seen everyday driving a golf cart down to the fitness center. Now she is seen playing cards, talking with friends or playing crossword puzzles to keep her mind sharp. When asked what one piece of advice she would give to any person – Reva smiles and simply says:
“Just be true to yourself.”