Individual Stories of L.W. Centenarians
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Story About How GRF Celebrated 100 Years of Life
by Anna Derby
GAF centenarian event coordinator The Golden Age Foundation celebrated 26 LW centenarians with a Hof ’s Hut carryout lunch, balloons, flowers, and gift cards that were individually delivered to each recipient on April 20. Centenarians profiles are also being printed in the LW Weekly in added recognition of reaching 100 years of age and beyond. The GAF received 19 stories, which were mostly written by relatives. These entertaining looks at how to successfully live a long life will be running for months to come. The GAF thanks the City of Seal Beach, including Assistant Manager Patrick Galegos, Mayor Thomas Moore and other city officials, for helping make the day special. The city provided the flowers for 26 beautiful bouquets, centenarian certificates and gift cards from Sprouts. City staff Lauren Barich, Jennifer Robles, Megan Coats and Erika Halberg were immensely helpful.
Volunteers delivered lunch, flowers and smiles to LW’s 26 centenarians on April 20. The event went off without a hitch, thanks to the oversight of Golden Age Foundation event coordinator Anna Derby (third from right) and contributions from the City of Seal Beach, among others. LW centenarians honored on April 20 Walt Cieslak was honored to have Seal Beach Mayor Thomas Moore present him with a centenarian certificate. GAF volunteer Brenda Thomason delivered Florence Gordon’s treats and her certificate of recognition. Liz and Carl Kennedy were honored to meet with Bette Sargent (center). GAF volunteers Heeja and Stan Alameida (in back and right) visited with centenarian Lewis Parker.
Mayor Moore volunteered to make deliveries to two centenarians. One of them, Walter Cieslak, greeted Moore all dressed up for his special day. Leisure World Korean Community Church sponsored gift cards from Ralphs and the Korean American Association donated Hof ’s Hut gift cards for future meals with family. This community effort celebrated more centenarians than in the past two GAF-sponsored lunches. All together, honorees were given a birthday card signed by dozens of residents, friends and neighbors, a city certificate, flowers, gift cards from Sprouts, Ralphs and Hof ’s Hut, two centenarian souvenir programs and a visit from a smiling volunteer. The GAF would like to thank volunteers Andree O’Brien, Beverley Bender, Brenda Thomason, Carl and Liz Kennedy, Geneva Potepan, Heeja and Stan Alameida, Katie and Henry Kim, Melli Herrera, Shery Wells and Susan Cucci. The GAF is grateful to Video Producers Club members Michael Oh and Irene Cistaro, who captured all the preparation for the event. Andree O’Brien and Beverley Bender also added “Happy Birthday” balloons for their centenarians. Volunteers reported that centenarians were delighted by the special recognition. Many stayed to visit and chat. People shared wisdom, their love of family, their goals and the gift of good genes.
by Ruth Osborn email@example.com
Last week, the Golden Age Foundation, along with the Golden Rain Foundation and the City of Seal Beach, feted LW centenarians with balloons, flowers, gift cards and lunch. A squad of volunteers that included the Mayor of Seal Beach fanned out to hand deliver this trove of love to the very long-lived in Leisure World. Mayor Thomas Moore and city staffers Lauren Barich, Jennifer Robles, Megan Coats and Erika Halberg scooped up armfuls of presents and hit the road. These 100-plus-year-olds are worthy of the recognition. Some of them were alive in 1918 and survived the influenza epidemic that swept the world, killing an estimated 50 million people. All of them survived the world’s latest pandemic that struck down 6.2 million worldwide. They lived through a world war, Prohibition, the beginning of Wimbledon and the dawn of technology as radio arrived at the White House in 1922. Today, there are about 90,000 centenarians in the country, according to the Census Bureau, an increase from about 72,000 in 2014 and 50,000 in 2000, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That growth is expected to continue, potentially reaching 589,000 people in the U.S. Here in LW, centenarians are also on the rise. Last week, 26 residents—at least two of whom are 105—were recognized as super-agers who have withstood the tests of time. They are men and women of varied backgrounds with several common threads. They are as active as possible, challenge themselves with mental activity, are family-oriented and are social butterflies. Many had unusually long and happy marriages. George Koehm, who will be 100 in November, and his wife, Selma, loved to dance and travel. Selma died in 2011 at the age of 92 after a 62-year marriage filled with travel, boating and family. Lewis Parker, who will be 100 in September, learned to be “a pretty good microwave chef ” after his beloved wife, Alma, died in 2019 after 69 years of marriage. He keeps up with current events, Zooms daily with several Leisure World groups and Face Times his son David and grandsons Daan and Sam in the Netherlands. For Bob Lynch, 103, a deep love of family and a marriage that lasted nearly 80 years has sustained him. His dear Rosalie, “Ro,” died in 2020, but memories of her surround him still. Over the years, there were several feature stories in the LW Weekly recognizing their long and enduring union. George Mayeda, who will be 100 in June, had a 72-year marriage to Fumi. “I think I was pretty lucky to marry her. She was a really smart woman,” he said. He is still very connected to his family through trips to the Santa Anita Race Track and Las Vegas, Christmas potlucks, and Fourth of July fireworks fun. Mary Greytak, 100, loves cribbage and spent decades overseeing the Cribbage Club. It kept her sharp, and she met two husbands at the card tables—Roger Weiber, who died in 2002, and Gary Greytak, who recently died after almost 15 years of marriage. Jerry Uva, 103, still enjoys a good action movie and visiting with his family. Several centenarians are accomplished artists. Jo Pickerell, 105, and Chung-Yuen Tung, 102, showcase their beautiful paintings in their apartments. Phyllis Poper’s creative expression takes the form of poetry, which she has been sending to the LW Weekly for decades. Ruth Beaman, 101, is an accomplished painter and does ceramics and needlework, as well as arranging flowers for the First Christian Church of Leisure World. Musician Mark Glickman, 101, came to Leisure World in 1988 and is still a Mutual 2 director. William Miller, who will be 100 in October, has not let impaired vision isolate him. In Leisure World, he is a lifetime member of the VFW, a member of the American Legion and a member of Rollin’ Thunder Golf Cart Club. Bea Roth, who will be 100 on May 23, is known for her great sense of humor and an enduring love of education, especially OLLI senior university at California State University, Long Beach. She has been taking classes there for over 18 years. And she stays current with news—local, international and political. Lyndell Philip, 100 in August, is an avid sports fan whose passion is baseball, especially the Dodgers. She has a long history of volunteering at the Health Care Center and the LW Library. Seena Friedland, who will be 100 in August, lives alone with minimal care. She does not wear glasses, has never been in a hospital except to visit others and keeps her mind sharp by reading the Long Beach Press-Telegram and working a crossword puzzle every day. Pearl Anderson still enjoys traveling and is as active as a youngster. She enjoyed water skiing until she was 94 years old and rode a horse on her 98th birthday. She plays the piano for the Bible study at LW Baptist Church and sings in the choir on Sunday. For her 100th birthday in August, she will travel to Minneapolis to celebrate with her relatives and have a local get-together with her LW Baptist Church friends and family. Kudos to all LW centenarians, those wonderful models of graceful aging, who are paving the way for the rest of us.