San Francisco Native Who Survived ‘06 Quake Turns 109
A woman believed to be one of the city’s oldest native residents marked her 109th birthday on Friday.
Lucille Meyer said she planned to celebrate with members of her large family, which includes two children, 14 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and a great-great grandchild, who was born in the fall.
“I like the company,” said Meyer, who lives with her daughter in Burlingame.
Born in 1896 at her family’s home in San Francisco’s North Beach, Meyer is a rare living witness to more than 100 years of history and remembers when the city had wooden sidewalks and streets filled with horse-drawn streetcars.
She also is believed to be one of the oldest survivors of the great earthquake and fire that destroyed the city in April 1906.
Meyer was 9 when the earthquake and resulting fire struck, burning the city for four days and destroying the Meyer family home.
But the family was staying with friends in San Mateo at the time, and after the fires stopped burning, her father brought her, her mother and her four brothers back to San Francisco to find another home.
The experience of watching the city burn and living near the wreckage still haunts her every time there is an earthquake.
“Everything was flattened from the Ferry Building to 20th Street,” she said. “I don’t want to see that again.”
Her husband, Norbert, whom she married in 1924, was killed four years later while repairing a car engine that caught fire.
Meyer was always in delicate health, yet she said her doctors had marveled at her progress after two major surgeries when she was in her 70s.
She said her secret to longevity is simple. “I mind my own business -- that’s the secret.”