Carol Hyatt, Bunny and her son Ted Hyatt stop for a picture

after lunch at the Kilchis House in Tillamook.

Bunny, a resident at Kilchis House, turns 102 years old Saturday, Dec. 11. Her family, along with the staff at Kilchis House in Tillamook, where she has lived for the past 18 years, has planned a card shower and cookie celebration to help her celebrate this milestone.

Bunny was born Elda Bess on Dec. 11, 1919. She was born in Lamar, Colorado. Her dad nicknamed her ‘Bunny’ and the name stuck.

“She loves bunnies,” said Carol Hyatt, her daughter in law. “Any thing bunnies.”

According to Sandy Somerakis, an administrator at Kilchis House and one of Bunny’s close friends, the employees of Kilchis House put up a concrete bunny in the garden at Kilchis House and according to Carol, Bunny lifted the 20 pound statue and put it in her room she loved it so much.

Bunny married Edward Hyatt in 1938 after high school. Edward was a policeman in Rawlins, Wyoming for 20 years. Everyone called Edward by a nickname, Ted. They had two children, Ted and Kathy. Her daughter, adopted, lives in Idaho. Including Bunny, there are five generations alive. Bunny has three grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren as well as 14 great-great-grandchildren.

Ted said that his dad and his dad’s brother-in-law worked on Donner Pass, cutting right away for PG&E. They lived up there for three years. They lived in tents in the snow while they worked.

The couple moved from California to Wyoming. Bunny worked as a head cook at Rawlins Memorial Hospital for several years.

“She cleaned houses for people, she did laundry for people, made wedding cakes, she sewed, and was the president of the VFW, the women’s thing, for years,” Ted said.

Bunny and Edward moved to Tillamook in 1970. Edward passed away in 2002. Her sister-in-law turned 103 years old in June.

“They are the best of friends all of these years,” Ted said.

Bunny loves to sew, cook and garden. For trips with the family, she would do all the cooking, for up to 22 people. “Our family liked to camp for a few week each year in Yellowstone and Bunny would do all the cooking,” Ted said.

Bunny has a sewing machine in her room at Kilchis House, and although she no longer sews, she won’t allow it to be taken out of her room.

In her younger years, she was a boot stomping piano and harmonica player. Carol said she has always been very active and has always been active in church when she is able.

During COVID shutdowns, Kilchis House hosted Zoom performances for the residents.

“When some honky-tonk music came on, Bunny would wake up and her hands would start playing along, just like she was playing the piano herself,” Sandy said with a laugh.

Bunny has been a resident at Kilchis House for 18 years. She has a plant that she brought with her when she moved in that is now 65-70 years old. It is a Christmas cactus that the staff has been taking care of.

“She made all of what is called aprons, that the residents wear here,” Carol said.

She also made quilts for Kilchis House.

“They were lap robes,” Carol said.

“She’s never smoked or chewed tobacco or drank alcohol,” Ted said when asked what Bunny’s secret is to be living so long. “She does swear occasionally.”

Bunny still has a remaining sister. Her two brothers, one of them being her twin, passed away.

When Bunny turned 100, she received 110 birthday cards. Carol said they had hoped to beat that number this year. Everyone is invited to drop off a card on Saturday, say Happy Birthday to Bunny and grab a cookie.


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