58 celebrated at annual 90-plus birthday party

The combined ages of the guests of honor at this birthday party would add up to more than five millennia.

There were 58 people, age 90 or older, who were honored at the Douglas County Senior Center's annual 90-plus birthday on Wednesday. Five of the birthday guests were older than 100 years.

At least 170 lunches of pot roast, gravy, potatoes and vegetables, salad and ice cream and cake were served. A sign on the wall states that the capacity of the senior center's main hall is 126. Tables were set up in the center's entrance room and ceramics studio to accommodate the overflow crowd.

Senior Services Director Warren Bottino said they sent out 160 invitations to 90-plus seniors this year. Some came from Carson Valley Residential and Merrill Gardens centers.

"Last year there were 34 people who celebrated 90-plus birthdays so we had a lot more guests this year," said Bottino. "People really enjoy themselves at this party."

Emily Glass, who will be 94 next month, was one of the 90-plus birthday guests. Glass was born March 14, 1914, in London, England. She's lived in Gardnerville for three years.

"In 1947 I came to the states and married an American in the Air Force," said Glass. "We were married in 'The Little Chapel of something' in Las Vegas."

When asked if she played slot machines on her honeymoon, Glass said with a wink, "Oh, yeah. What else would we do?"

Glass said she eventually was married three times.

"I thought the film stars do it so I might as well," she said.

She said she stays young by socializing at the senior center.

"I don't stay home - I go out all the time," Glass said. "I like to play bingo at the senior center. I don't think of myself as 94."

This was Minden resident Walter Spaelti's first year to be honored in the annual 90-plus birthday party. He was visiting family in Virginia when he turned 90 on Dec. 15.

"It was a great day," said Spaelti. "My granddaughter graduated from Old Dominion in Norfolk and my son's wife had a baby on my birthday."

Spaelti said the way he stays young is to try not to act his age.

"I was a banker for 40 years with Wells Fargo and always enjoyed what I did," he said. "I was sports minded and played a lot of baseball and golf. Now I come to the senior center a lot."

Spaelti said the senior center is always full on the bingo days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"It's not so full on Tuesday and Thursday or when it's snowing," he said. "We need to make this place bigger but the politicians just don't listen."

Spaelti's friend Chuck Robertson, 87, said he's been coming to the senior center for 26 years.

"I think Bea Jones has me beat and has been coming here longer," said Robertson. "The senior center has grown. You used to know everyone."


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