Oceanside Woman Celebrates 103rd Birthday – NBC Los Angeles

Relatives in Oceanside, California, gathered Monday night to celebrate the woman who made the family possible as she passed a remarkable milestone – her 103rd birthday.

Although gloomy and cold with rain imminent, loved ones of Josefina “Josie” Romero huddled in a white tent adorned with banners, balloons, flowers and cakes written with well-wishes in her honor. As her family celebrated the matriarch’s special day, Romero revealed to NBC 7 her secret to longevity.

“Just be happy,” Romero shared with a smile. “I was born like that, you know, happy.”

The North County woman’s big day was full of happiness as her relatives and closest friends beamed brilliant smiles at her birthday celebration. Portraits from her younger days were displayed at the party and in one particular image, Romero is 19, sporting a polka dot dress and carrying a guitar. According to her family, she has always loved music.


An undated portrait of Josefina “Josie” Romero, who was 19 when she posed for this.

“I love to dance. I always tell my grandkids when I die, put on salsa and see if I don’t jump out of the coffin and start dancing,” Romero said with a laugh.

Her musical spirit defines much of her passions, according to Romero’s family. And even though she is more than a century old, that love has never dwindled.

“It’s just incredible to see her. She’s still very strong,” Josefina’s grandson, Jose Romero, said. “She’s very strong on her legs and can move around for her age. It just hasn’t really slowed her down. She likes to stay active. She loves to hear music and if we had music right now, you’d see her dancing a little bit.”

Josefina was born in Kansas after her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico. She and her family then left the Midwest when she was about 5 to head to Santa Ana. After spending her childhood and most of her young adult life in Orange County, the matriarch moved to Oceanside at age 35 and raised her family in North County.

“I have a daughter and six sons,” Josefina said. “I lost count of how many grandchildren I have, but I believe it may be nearly 50 altogether, including great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.”

Her expansive family was filled with glee to be able to celebrate her big birthday. Jose, who is among her dozens of grandchildren, speaks for the rest of their family when he says they’re looking forward to more time with their beloved grandmother.

“It’s a blessing to have her here still,” Jose said. “Really enjoying that we’re able to celebrate with her … We hope to see her turn 104 next year, which I believe she will get there.”

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