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COOS BAY — A New Yorker with a vibrant spirit, lots of character and a welcoming smile got her birthday wish fulfilled Monday to ride in the Coos Bay Fire Department’s new 2019 Pierce Fire Engine.

Anne Soll, a resident at Ocean Ridge Assisted Living, was given the chance to ride alongside firefighters as part of her 100th birthday celebration. Staff members at Ocean Ridge and the Coos Bay Fire Department worked for months to surprise Soll and present her with the memorable gift.

Resident Anne Soll reacts Monday as she learns she'll get a ride in a firetruck during her 100th birthday celebration at Ocean Ridge Assisted …

“I looked at the truck and thought I’ll never make it up there,” said Soll. “They told me don’t worry about it and then lifted me up. It was so much fun.”

On Monday, Sept. 30, Soll celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by dozens of friends and family who traveled from all around the country including California, Ohio and Illinois to see her. A few family members even traveled from as far as Hong Kong to celebrate with Soll.

“It was overwhelming and I think I cried almost all day seeing everyone,” said Soll. “My 95-year-old sister, Lillian, who I haven’t seen in three years, also came to visit with me.”

Soll also got a chance to visit the downtown Coos Bay Fire Station, at 450 Elrod Ave., to see up close and personal its 1914 American LaFrance Fire Engine which the department acquired about three years ago.

The historic truck was first introduced to the fire department over 100 years ago as it was the first motorized fire engine to hit the Oregon Coast. Soll commented on the truck's features saying how much things have changed over the years and even joked about its old age. 

Soll, who moved to Coos Bay in 2010, grew up in Bronx, New York to parents Paul and Gussie Landau who emigrated from Poland and Austria to Ellis Island in the early 1900s. She is one of five siblings which include her three sisters and brother.

A Coos Bay Fire Department engine reflects resident Anne Soll as she walks out of Ocean Ridge Assisted Living before a ride with Chief Mark An…

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A graduate of Walton High School in the Bronx, Soll at the age of 18 began working as a legal secretary for about five years in Manhattan.

“I loved to dance and still do,” said Soll. “My cousin one night was throwing a party at his club and I went by myself and that’s where I met my husband, Irving.”

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Soon after meeting her husband, a Navy veteran who was at one point stationed on the USS Shangri-La, the two began a family and had three daughters, Linda, Carole and Janice. Soll said she and her husband shared 63 loving years together before he passed away in 2004.

With birthday celebrations starting as far back as a week ago, Soll said she got a chance to see her sister, daughters, grandkids and great-grandkids.

Surrounded by family on her 100th birthday, Anne Soll walks around a 1914 American LeFrance fire engine during visit to the Coos Bay Fire Department.

“(My mom) has always been so kind and outgoing,” said Linda Binder, Soll’s oldest daughter. “She is always so well put together and will never leave her apartment without her jewelry and without being all dressed up.”

At 100 years old, Soll, who teaches two exercise classes and is part of the Ocean Ridge Jug Band, said she takes life one day at a time and makes it her mission to focus on the happy moments each day brings.

“I try to enjoy each day as much as I can,” she said. “I just live my life day to day.”

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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