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Drinking plenty of water and eating a strict diet are 103-year-old’s secrets

Tami Jo Nix/The Madera Tribune

One-hundred-three-year-old Lupe Valdez Pico, joined by her daughter-in-law Connie Palacios Pico, on their way to Lupe’s birthday celebration held recently at Avalon Health Care Center on Howard Road.


Managing her diet and drinking lots of water is what Lupe Pico of Madera credits for her longevity. She recently turned 103 years old. She also makes sure to get plenty of fresh air, and works hard. She never smoked cigarettes or drank liquor she said.

Lupe is a resident of Avalon Health Care Center on Howard Road.

She was born Lupe Valdez on Feb. 27, 1916, in Hanford, where her mother owned a restaurant in which Lupe learned to cook and wait tables. She attended grammar school in Redlands. The family moved to Madera in the late 1920s.

At the age of 21, Lupe married Joe Pico and they had three children. Her daughter, the late Joanna Palacio, and fraternal twin sons, Ron and Don Pico all were reared in Madera. Her son Ron Pico died on March 27, 2018.

The brothers were born on Valentine’s Day in 1943. Lupe became a widow in 1983 and never remarried.

She is a longtime member of St. Joachim Catholic Church, where she sang in the choir and sang Christmas carols at local convalescent homes.

At Christmas time (former mayor) Alan Brown would pick her up in his yellow Volkswagen bug so they could sing at the rest homes.

She really enjoyed riding in his little car, he said.

She made beautiful crochet doilies by the hundreds. She liked attaching lace edges and embroidered designs on her tea towels. Lupe sewed many of her own clothes making blouses for herself and her daughter, she said. She took joy in cooking for her friends and family with her specialty dishes being fried chicken, enchiladas, tostadas and tacos.

She raised canaries and parakeets.

“I had to make sure I fed and watered my tweedy birds every day,” she said.

When she was younger she enjoyed going to the cinema at the old Madera Theater.

“I liked going to the movies to see westerns,” Lupe said. “John Wayne, he was my number one cowboy.”

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