90-plus age group counts life by friends not years | RecordCourier.com

90-plus age group counts life by friends not years

by Trent Carruthers

The cold air and swirling snow outside the Douglas County Senior Center on Wednesday wasn’t enough to keep one hearty 102-year-old and 21 other senior citizens, age 90 or older, from attending the 90-plus Birthday Celebration.

The Senior Center has 66 members in their 90s, up from 10 just a decade ago.

“This is our way of honoring these people for their longevity and reaching an age milestone,” said Linda Kyriakopoulos, Senior Center recreation coordinator.

County commissioner Doug Johnson and Community Service Director Scott Morgan awarded the birthday party honorees with flowers and certificates.

Centenarian Harriet Cox was a special guest. This New Year’s Day baby was born Jan. 1, 1903.

“Harriet is spunky and has lots of energy,” said Kyriakopoulos about the woman who still enjoys sewing and moved to Minden four years ago from Escalon, Calif. “She has more energy than most of our staff.”

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Harriet lives with her daughter Marjorie Hofmann in Minden. Two other daughters, Marilyn, 73, lives in Idaho and Silvia passed away in 2001. Harriet’s husband, Chelcy, died in 1977. Her great-granddaughters Lauren, 5, and Jade, 4, attended the festivities.

“Mom exercises twice a day and even walks stairs,” said Marjorie, 71, whose mother takes no medicine and has been a vegetarian for 50 years. “She worked on a farm, trusted in God and lived a good life. That is her secret.”

Living a good life is also the secret recipe of longevity for Genoa’s Theresa Clark who turns 96 this spring. Theresa, who now lives with her daughter Terry Anderson, lived in her own house until age 93. She was born in Ireland in 1909 and is the lone survivor of nine children. She moved to the United States at age 21 and married John Clark. The couple was married for 44 years until John’s death in 1977. They had three children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

“I believe the best thing for a long life is to keep busy and be nice to everyone,” said Theresa, who likes to play cards, watch television and listen to music.

“I eat good food and help other people every time I can. I count my age by friends, not years.”

The only medicine she takes after nearly a century of life is eye drops.

The Senior Center will honor their 90-plus club members again next February when Harriet will be a robust 103 and Theresa 97.