100 Year Old Corvette Enthusiast Recounts a Century of Living

100 Year Old Corvette Enthusiast Recounts a Century of Living
Photo courtesy of Andy and Sue Schiestl

Viola Schiestl White is sitting in a C3 Corvette that is considered a classic by car enthusiasts.

Nothing unusual about that.

What is unusual is that Mrs. White will be celebrating her 100th birthday on July 28, 2013 so she can recall a time when there were not only no Corvettes, but no cars of any kind at all!

“I went to a school that had all eight grades and I walked a mile and a half to school,” White recalled. “At that time, there were no cars and no nothing.”

Back in those days, riding a train or a horse was just about the only method of transportation.

“The railroad went through our property and if anyone would get sick enough they had to go to a doctor … we would go down and wait in the box car on our property for a train to go by,” she said. “Sometimes we would get in with the horses and the cows.”

She remembers riding a horse to school with her brothers and sisters and then turning the critter around and sending it back home.

The family did eventually get a car (a Ford of all things!), and White was only 9 years old when she learned to drive. She got her license for just a quarter and didn’t have to bother with that pesky parallel parking test; instead she just went to the town garage in Foxboro and filled out a form.

“Those were the good old days,” she laments.

That doesn’t mean she lives in the old days now, however. Her daughter-in-law, Sue Schiestl, says White has had an e-mail account for 13 years and got an iPad at 97. What’s next? A bright red C7?

Sadly, she’s outlived many of her friends and two husbands, Andrew, who died in 1976, and Harold White, whom she married 10 years later.

She hopes she has enough time to visit with the large crowd expected to honor her during a birthday party on July 28 from noon to 5 at the Superior-Douglas County Senior Center, 1527 Tower Ave., Superior, Wisconsin.


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Mitch Talley
Mitch Talley has loved Corvettes since he was just 8 years old. He's owned 10 Corvettes since 1983, including examples from the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth generations. His goal is to own first, second, and seventh generation cars someday. He and his son, Chris, also a Corvette enthusiast, served as Captains of the 2014 Georgia Corvette Caravan.