Prairie Village original turns 90 — and keeps selling houses along the way

Jay Wooldridge (from left) with daughter Margo Preut, granddaughter Hannah Preut and wife Ann Wooldridge at a birthday party thrown by his colleagues Wednesday.

Prairie Village resident Jay Wooldridge will officially celebrate his 90th birthday on Saturday.

And on Monday, he’ll be back to work.

A real estate agent for more than 30 years, Wooldridge still actively sells homes in the area he has called home since the early 1950s. Originally a home builder, Wooldridge launched his second professional act as a realtor around 1980.

“Many local realtors have told me stories of going with him to see a home for sale,” recalls Wooldridge’s son Barry, who also lives in Prairie Village. “And when they walk in, [dad] says ‘I remember this house…I built it!'”

Wooldridge and his wife Ann were both raised in Kansas City, Mo., but settled on the Kansas side of the line after Jay returned from service in Europe during World War II. Once back from the war, he became was one of the first homebuilders to focus on Prairie Village.

Wooldridge says he likes staying active, and selling homes provides an excellent outlet.

“It gets you out and interacting with people,” he said. “And you do make a little money. Which is a nice thing.”

As for the secret to his longevity?

“Exercise, eat right, don’t drink to much,” Wooldridge said. “Moderation.”