Lifestyle & Human Interest

Meet the Sweet 103-Year-Old Great-Great-Grandmother Who Just Became a Junior Park Ranger


A sweet 103-year-old is warming the hearts of thousands of people across the country with her most recent trip to one of the most breathtaking places on earth: Grand Canyon National Park.

Rose Torphy went to the national park with her daughter, Cheri Stoneburner, in January 2019  to visit Stoneburner’s daughter who works and lives in the park.

Rose Torphy, 103, enjoying the “breath-taking” views at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. (Courtesy of Cheri Stoneburner)

Rose has been an inspiration and a blessing to five generations of her family. She is extremely thoughtful and keeps everyone on their toes with her dynamic personality.

This year, in lieu of asking for gifts for her 103rd birthday, Rose gave handmade “books of wisdom” to her great-great-grandchildren. The books included pictures of her and a few words to live by.

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In lieu of asking for gifts for her 103rd birthday, Rose gifted handmade “books of wisdom” for her great-great-grandchildren. (Courtesy of Cheri Stoneburner)

Rose hasn’t let her age stop her from spending quality time with her family either.

Stoneburner told Liftable, a brand of The Western Journal, “We are just blessed to have mom be so vibrant and involved at her age.”

Five generations of Rose Torphy’s family participates in an annual 5k walk benefiting Ronald McDonald. (Courtesy of Cheri Stoneburner)

Rose and her family participate in an annual 5k walk benefitting Ronald McDonald House; it’s an event all five generations get involved in!

“She is an inspiration to all and she has such great stories to share,” Stoneburner told Liftable. “We are so blessed to have her teaching all these generations.”

Rose Torphy, 103, with her great-great-granddaughter named Chase. There is a 100-year age difference between the two. (Courtesy of Cheri Stoneburner)

It’s hard to miss the love Rose has for her family, which is what made her recent trip to the Grand Canyon so special! Stoneburner’s daughter, Heather Peeters, works and lives in the Park, so not only was Rose able to see amazing views, but she was also able to visit with one of her granddaughters.

While she was at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, she learned about the Junior Ranger program — a program built for anyone ages 4 and older.

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According to the National Parks Service’s website, a Junior Ranger helps “to preserve and protect national parks.” The website explains further, “They learn about nature and history, have fun exploring the parks, and tell their friends, families, and schoolmates about their adventures.”

Aspiring Junior Rangers complete a series of different activities, based on age level, before getting sworn in and receiving a special badge. When Rose heard about the program, she was excited that such an interactive program had been built for children.

“She said she was very fortunate that her parents taught her to respect the land,” Stoneburner told Liftable. “She said many kids do not have that opportunity now which is why she thinks that Junior Ranger program is such a wonderful idea.”

And that’s why she decided to become a Junior Ranger herself.

In a video that has since gone viral, Rose was proudly sworn into the Junior Ranger program on Jan. 14 — almost one month before the national park celebrated its 100th anniversary.

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She said in a later video that she hoped that the Grand Canyon would be preserved so that her great-great-grandchildren would be able to enjoy it as well.

Rose’s enthusiasm for the Grand Canyon and spontaneous willingness to be named a Junior Ranger is a perfect example of how much Grand Canyon National Park, much like Rose, has impacted so many lives over the past 100 years.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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