Irene Navarre’s 100th Birthday Celebration (Aug. 6, 2017)

Story and photos by Mark Wing unless otherwise noted

Irene O’Connor Navarre is a long-time member of the Tin Lizzies of Albuquerque and is the clubs’ Parliamentarian.  Her husband, the late Dr. Harry Navarre, was one of the founding members of the club.  Irene celebrated her 100th birthday on August 2nd and Lorna and Larry Azevedo organized a Tin Lizzie visit and birthday celebration for Irene at her residence at the Village at Alameda Senior Living on Sunday, August 6th.

Note: The following collage and historical photographs are from Irene Navarre’s collection.

Seven Model Ts and one Model A speedster were driven to Irene’s birthday event and the Tin Lizzie members provided rides to the residents, staff, and visiting families.  Lorna and her 1915 “Lorna Special” was particularly popular!  Some of the residents recalled having ridden in Model Ts when they were younger!

After the car rides everyone retired to a dining room were Irene was serenaded by a song – composed by Lorna.   The humorous ballad was sung to the tune of “A Bicycle Built for Two”, by Lorna Azevedo, Susan Wing, and Janie Burton.

Irene & the Old Model T

By Lorna Azevedo

Dear, sweet, Irene, come ride in my Model T..

I’ve been hoping you’d take a spin with me!

She took that ride with Harry,

In not too long, they’d marry!

They had perfect teeth, life was so sweet…

All because of that old Model T!


Years they flew by – how did time pass so fast?

How is everything suddenly in the past?

At one hundred she’s still feisty,

One hundred one is very likely!

We all can tell, she’s aged so well..

Just like that old Model T!


Cake followed and everyone expressed their birthday greetings to Irene on this momentous milestone!  Irene and everyone present appeared to have a wonderful time honoring our senior-most Tin Lizzie member!

Did you know?  Irene is a local celebrity as a pioneer in dental hygiene.  She was a major contributor in starting the New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada Dental Hygienists’ Associations and had devoted her life to promoting dental hygiene science and integration in dental offices.  She even helped establish the University of New Mexico’s dental hygiene program over 50 years ago!

Source:  Irene Navarre’s dental hygiene history adapted from “Spotlight on a Pioneer Dental Hygienist” by Christine Nathe, RDH, MS