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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Friends laud ‘ageless wonder’

Louis Livingston celebrates his 104th birthday party at Rockwood Manor Friday. Livingston is a well-known philanthropist, high school teacher and vice principal, and a former Cheney Cowles Museum director. 
 (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

He’s taught thousands in Spokane, started a school in Korea, watched World War II war crime tribunals in Japan and traveled the world.

And after 104 years, he’s ready for more.

“I feel just as young as ever,” Louis Livingston said Friday after a meal and cake celebrating his 104th birthday. “I’m ready for another round.”

Livingston, who taught at Lewis and Clark High School for four decades, celebrated his birthday Friday with residents of Rockwood Manor, where he has lived for 13 years.

Wearing a bright yellow jacket, yellow shirt and tie, blue pants and a button declaring “Ageless wonder,” Livingston listened to Mayor Jim West proclaim the day in his honor. He later blew out about a dozen candles on his birthday cake.

“He had plenty of wind.,” remarked Jaak Juhkentaal, vice president for operations of Rockwood Retirement Communities. “Louis represents a group of people who are aging and active at a much higher age than in past generations.”

Livingston began teaching in the Spokane Public Schools in 1924, and started teaching at LC two years later.

In 1946, he joined an Army program to teach political science to American forces in Asia. While there, he started the United States Army School for Dependents Children in Seoul, Korea.

He returned to Lewis and Clark after a year and retired from the school in 1966.

“I was strict but I’ve always been able to smile, and I’ve always been able to work with young people,” Livingston said.

After retiring from LC, Livingston served as the director of the Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum (now the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture) for two years.

A few of the folks seated around Livingston’s birthday table attended LC during his tenure.

Helen Fosseen, a 1928 LC alumna, said Livingston was respected by the students for his teaching abilities.

“We knew he had a sense of humor,” said Fosseen. “He was a disciplinarian in the proper way.”

Livingston cared about his students so much then that he still remembers many of them – four decades removed from the classroom.

“He was interested in the kids and everything about them,” said Margie May Ott, an LC student in 1935-36. “He can still tell people what class he had them in, and they about fall off the Christmas tree.”