Former Fayetteville School Teacher Celebrates 108th Birthday

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- She lived through the Great Depression and World War II by educating students in classrooms around the state of Arkansas, and Saturday (Nov. 17), she celebrated her 108th birthday.

Irma Boyer resides at Butterfield Trail Village in Fayetteville, where she was surprised with a birthday party by family and a few former first grade students.

Boyer retired from Fayetteville Public Schools in 1976, but her impression left on students remains relevant in 2018.

"She just makes you feel good being around her," said Harold Hutton, who had Boyer as a first grade teacher in 1964. "It takes you back to that time, like I said, she loved her kids."

Hutton said he recently discovered that Boyer was a resident of Butterfield and stopped by to visit with her, and has done so a few times since that time.

"She didn't remember me, but she remembered spanking some kid for pulling the fire alarm bell," Hutton joked. "I said, 'Well that was me.' She grinned and I asked if I could come back and see her some more, and she said, 'I wish you would.'"

Jane Shipley, Boyer's daughter, who is also a former teacher, said her mother has been asked many times throughout the years for her secret to living a long life.

"People ask her that and she says 'I don't know,'' Shipley said. "But after watching her, I have a lot of ideas."

She said her mother remains curious to this day.

"She's been very active. She has intellectual curiosity, that type of thing," Shipley said. "She wants to learn."

Boyer's actual birthday is Friday (Nov. 23) and a celebration of sorts is expected to be held at Washington Elementary where she spent many years during her career.

"I'm not totally surprised," Shipley said of her mother's age. "I know medically it's surprising, but somehow it fits her."