Valley resident turns 102 |

Valley resident turns 102

by Sarah Hauck
Centenarian plus 2 years Sarah Elizabeth Dotson Otradovec celebrates her birthday at Katie's in the Carson Valley Inn Friday in Minden.
Brad Coman |

With a name almost as long as her life, Carson Valley resident Sarah Elizabeth Dotson Otradovec, celebrated her 102nd birthday Friday.

Surrounded by friends and part of her family at a quite lunch at Katie’s, Dotson Otradovec shared her secret to longevity, much like sharing a recipe.

“I didn’t drink. I didn’t smoke,” she said. “I didn’t use sugar. I didn’t use salt. Oh, and I didn’t have sex.”

An interesting mix of omissions considering the former Pleasant Hill, Calif., resident had five children.

All products of her first marriage, Dotson Otradovec lives surrounded by her children and friends.

“My first husband was the love of my life and my second husband was my very best friend,” she said.

After 46 years of marriage, Dotson Otradovec became a widow, keeping her first married name as a tribute.

Her daughter Caryl Anderson, 78, said her mom’s second husband was a spiritual finding.

“She met her second husband in the cemetery,” the Minden resident said. “They were both visiting their spouses and when my mom left, Mr. Otradovec walked over to my dad’s headstone, read his last name and called my mom. They were married a year later. She told me later that she’d had a premonition to go to the cemetery that day. They were married for 14 years.”

Dotson Otradovec shared her love for cooking and healthy choices, working for the school district as the assistant cook in the cafeteria at the high school.

Her dedication to her family both within and outside the home were what created lasting memories for Dotson Otradovec.

“I have a lot of favorite memories,” she said. “I do remember after three girls how thrilled I was to get my son. All of my children were wonderful. I have such wonderful girls and now they are wonderful caretakers.”

Dotson Otradovec spends about three months with her daughters alternating between Minden and California.

With a sharp memory, recalling how to spell her deceased daughter’s married name in the blink of an eye and a quick whit, Dotson Otradovec amazes most she encounters.

“This is absolutely amazing,” Anderson said. “She was always very disciplined. She worked very hard. She was a wonderful cook. She loves her family very much.”

“We are so fortunate to celebrate all of these different birthdays,” friend Jodi Bingham told the birthday girl. “We look forward to 103. At the rate you’re going, we’re going to see 103.”

Carson Valley Inn donated the cake Dotson Otradovec and her friends celebrated with.

“I feel great,” she said. “I am so fortunate so have these precious friends.”

Dotson Otradovec’s children are Anderson of Minden, Joanne Colton of Pleasant Hill, Calif., Sally Eckles of Hamford, Calif., John Dotson of Scottsdale, Ariz., and deceased Mary Hayes.