“I just love the sound of applause,” says Dorothy
Custer, who turned 100 in June, “and I have ever since I was five
years old. I was given the role of Tiny Tim in a school performance
of “A Christmas Carol” because there wasn’t a young boy to
play the part. I had one line,” she recalls, “When I heard the
applause – that was it; I’ve been performing in one way or another
Over the years this Idaho
native has had many roles including college student, school teacher,
wife, mother, community organizer,
Dorothy Custer at Universal Studios before her appearance on
"The Tonight Show
with Jay Leno" in June, 2011. She had the
picture taken because she knew Jay Leno likes motorcycles!
volunteer and recently Pioneer of the Year. But entertainer is her
longest running role and her passion.
“It’s just natural for me,” she says earnestly.
“Entertaining others, spreading joy and laughter is what I love to
do. I belong to a group called the Good Sam Traveling Club; we go
all over performing at various functions – we’re in demand!”
Dorothy has developed 13 characters, as she calls them,
including “Granny Clampett” from "The Beverly Hillbillies."
She writes skits and jokes, and makes costumes for each
character. She is known for her harmonica playing, which she’s been
perfecting since the age of 12, as well as her quick wit and stand
up comedic talent.
“I like to have fun.” As she told Jay Leno on a recent
appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," “No one has
had as much fun as I have in my life!”
Captain Joe (Jose) Grant, 101 - Pioneer aviator Jose
Grant, can be found working 6 days a week at the jewelry store that
bears his name in Stamford, CT. He’s known for his unique “puzzle
rings,” and has been in business since 1947. He’s also a retired
pilot for TWA and spent 2 years in Saudi Arabia helping to found
their national airline after WWII. He now flies with his son in
their Cessna, lives alone and is still driving. His office and
store are filled with memorabilia, awards and honors from his flying
Captain Joe (Jose) Grant, 101 Photo courtesy of Stan Piet, Archive
Director, Glenn L. Martin Museum
He recently held a book signing at the Smithsonian
Air and Space Museum for his book about his time in Saudi Arabia.
100, Prototype of Today’s Modern Woman
New Jersey Local News Service
Dedicated career woman, wife,
mother, community volunteer, single
working Mom, entrepreneur,
remarriage, third career, caring
daughter to her Mother and involved
Grandmother. Sound familiar? Sure. Except that Astrid has pulled it all
off successfully to age 100 – and
still going strong – and still
working a 40 hour week!
“I am blessed,” she says. She’s also
immensely talented and determined
and focused. “I don’t feel old and
I don’t think old,” she’s quick to
add. And listening to her on the
phone or watching her at work, she
would easily be mistaken for someone
40 years younger than her
chronological age. She doesn’t have
any tricks or secrets to her success
– “this is just the way I am and
always have been.”
Born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, on
September 24, 1909, to Swedish immigrant parents, Astrid was the
middle child of three girls. During the 1918 Flu Pandemic –
that killed 50 million worldwide, as she recalls – Astrid lost her
father and her older sister, just hours apart.
“My mother and younger sister were both stricken, but survived.
My younger sister lost hearing in one ear as a result. I was
never sick – I didn’t get it at all. My mother just had to
carry on; she had two young daughters to care for. When she
remarried, we were adopted and so we had a father – I always called
my stepfather my dad. He was good to us and we grew up in a
normal, loving family. My mother was a very strong woman. I
give her a lot of credit for how my life has turned out. When
we were in our teens we all went to Sweden to meet our cousins and
other family. We had a terrific time. My dad was
American and didn’t understand the language, but he was a good sport
and my mother translated. We girls picked it up very fast.
Ruth Proskauer Smith,
102 – Native New Yorker Ruth Smith retains a keen interest in the
law and those who make the law, especially the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ruth comes by her interest in the law naturally. Her father, Joseph
M. Proskauer, was a prominent New York lawyer and a founder of the
distinguished law firm that still contains his name. Her father was
a confidant of Governor Alfred E. Smith, a candidate for the
presidency in 1928.
Ruth regularly leads a self study group of
retirees in New York who are interested in the makings of the laws
of the land. To her two children’s dismay, she maintains her active
lifestyle in New York using the bus and subway to get around. She
has lived in her apartment at the historic Dakota since the early
1960s and relishes her independence.
Ruth Proskauer Smith Dead: Abortion
Activist, NARAL Co-Founder Dies
NEW YORK — Ruth
Proskauer Smith, a reproductive
rights pioneer, has died at the age
of 102. In 1969, Smith helped form
the first steering committee of the
National Association for the Repeal
of Abortion Laws. In recent years,
Smith remained involved with NARAL
(NAY'-rahl) Pro-Choice New York.
Her father, Joseph M. Proskauer, served on the
New York State Supreme Court and was
an adviser to Gov. Alfred E. Smith.
Her mother, the former Alice
Naumburg, helped found the
Euthanasia Society of America, a
right-to-die group. Even after her
102nd birthday, Smith led a regular
seminar at a program for retired
Her son, Anthony Smith, says she died Friday at her
The New York Times, Huffington Post
Weatherford attorney Jack Borden honored as
America’s Outstanding Oldest Worker
WEATHERFORD — On Wednesday (August 5th), Jack Borden, of
Weatherford, will celebrate his 101st birthday.
But that’s not the only ceremony on his schedule
for the day. He will also be recognized by Experience Works as
America’s Outstanding Oldest Worker for 2009 at a 1 p.m. press
conference at The Alkek Fine Arts Theater on the campus of
Following his recognition by Experience Works,
Borden’s birthday party is planned at the Parker County Sheriff’s
The public is invited.
DEMOCRAT FILE PHOTO Jack Borden,
the oldest practicing attorney in Texas, will be recognized
as America’s Outstanding Oldest Worker. He is shown here in a 2008
photo working at the law office he shares with his partner and
nephew, John Westhoff.
Story and photo:
“No gifts please,” Borden said. “The ladies can bring me hugs and
I’ll have someone here to shake the men’s hands.”
Borden, who traveled to Washington, D.C. in
September 2008 to accept accolades as Texas’ Outstanding Older
Worker of the Year, credits a positive outlook on his longevity and
his desire to continue working.
“It’s a good attitude,” he told the Democrat
then. “If you have drive, determination and do the best you can to
serve your customers and employer, nothing can stop you.”
An attorney since 1935, Borden still works 40
hours a week in an office he shares with his nephew, John Westhoff —
specializing in real estate and probate work. Borden is the oldest
member of the State Bar of Texas and is also the nation’s oldest
living former FBI agent.
“I’ve been licensed for more than 70 years,” he
said in a 2008 interview. “I thank God every day that I still have
my mind so I can still help people by practicing law.”
Always active in the community, Mr. Borden served
as Mayor of Weatherford from 1960 to 1964, and was selected as
Outstanding Citizen of Weatherford in 2005.
“I think one of the reasons I’ve lived so long is
that I love life,” he said. “That’s really the important thing,
Experience Works is the nation’s largest
nonprofit training and employment organization for older workers.
Previous America’s Oldest Workers include a
100-year-old journalist, a 101-year-old engineer, a 100-year-old
business owner, a 103-year-old real estate developer, a 102-year-old
professor, a 100-year-old architect and a 104-year-old entrepreneur.
Oldest Man Parties On 113th Birthday
The world's oldest man has celebrated his 113th birthday - revealing
he takes one aspirin a day to stay healthy. Sky News - September 22, 2009
Walter Breuning celebrated his milestone with a party at his home in
the Rainbow Retirement Community in Great Falls,
Montana. He told those gathered: "Remember that life's length is not
measured by its hours and days, but by that which we have done
A useless life is short if it lasts a century.
"There are greater and better things in us all, if we would
find them out. There will always be in this world - wrongs. No wrong
is really successful.
"The day will come when light and truth and the just and the good
shall be victorious and wrong as evil will be no more forever."
The 113-year-old, considered to be the world's oldest man,
attributes his long life to eating well and keeping physically and
mentally active. He also says he takes one aspirin a day.
Mr. Breuning is in such good shape that he still strolls the
halls of the retirement home, wearing a suit and tie, and walks the
ramps to his second-floor apartment.
He was born on September 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota.
In 1912, he became a railway worker, which led him to Montana
in 1918. He stayed in the job until retiring in 1963. Mr. Breuning
has outlived all of his family. He lost his wife in 1957 after 35
years of marriage - they did not have any children.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Walter Breuning learned to read by kerosene lantern, remembers his
grandfather telling him about fighting in the Civil War, and cast
his first presidential ballot for Woodrow Wilson.
The 112-year-old resident of Great Falls,
Mont., apparently became the world's oldest man when 113-year-old
Henry Allingham of England died Saturday. Breuning was born Sept.
Now living at the Rainbow Retirement Home,
Breuning takes one aspirin and eats two meals a day. He strolls the
halls wearing a suit and tie and still walks the ramps to his
second-floor apartment. Breuning said he's
more grateful for his health than he is for a world title.
"If you're in good health, you've got
everything there is," he told the Great Falls Tribune. Longevity
doesn't run in Breuning's family. He said his father, a civil
engineer, died at 50, and his mother, a housewife, at 46. Two
brothers and two sisters died in their 70s, he said. Breuning credits his longevity to keeping busy and
His advice for living to a ripe old age?
Stay active in body and mind, don't eat too much and be good to
people. The Guinness world records Web site said Breuning now
appears to be the world's oldest man and that it will make a formal
announcement as soon as the record has been verified.
Pictured above: Walter,
110, throws the first pitch
during the Great Falls White Sox Pioneer League season
against the Billings Mustangs
in June, 2007.
Vicente Osorio, a naturalized citizen at age 100
4th, 2008, Manuel Vicente Osorio Rios, 100 years old, posed as a
proud American citizen, becoming the first Arizonian and the 11th in
the nation to be naturalized at 100 years old, the day before his
101st birthday. He recalled the special day as one of the proudest
moments in his life; it was his life-long dream to become an
Elsa Hoffmann, our
is the subject of a new book!
In the new book, “Elsa’s Own Blue Zone — America’s Centenarian
Sweetheart’s Insights for Positive Aging and Living,” author
Sharon Textor-Black shares with readers the philosophies she learned
from her grandmother Elsa Brehm Hoffmann, a woman who became a
national celebrity at 100. At 101, Elsa still drives, does her own
banking, and is out and about daily.
Hoffmann, a stunning, strong and active
centenarian who defies the stereotypes of age, was interviewed by
Barbara Walters during the blockbuster April 2008 longevity special
“How to Live to be 150 … Can You Do It?” Hoffmann was
featured as one of the most active, multi-faceted American seniors,
supported by two years of research by the network and the National
Centenarian Awareness Project. Hoffmann credits her healthful habits
and optimistic life philosophies for her happiness and
In fact, Dr. Michael Brickey, award winning author and a
psychologist, describes Elsa, saying: “You cannot find a better role
model of a vital, life embracing centenarian.”
“’Elsa’s Own Blue Zone’ is about
Elsa and her long successful life in modern America, citing real
life examples to help you do the same despite adversities we all
face.” says Textor-Black. She adds, “Baby Boomers and Seniors alike
will be inspired and motivated by Elsa’s insights to care for mind,
soul, body and loved ones, engaging in life full force.” Textor-Black
specifies: “History, photos, biography, research, humor, and most
importantly, Elsa’s wisdom and life experiences - from her
hyperbaric chamber treatment to running businesses to leading a
parade; it’s all in there!”
predominant themes to Andy Rasch’s long life are his service to his
country, concern for others and his desire for independence. At age
107, he remarkably continues to maintain all three.
Andy and his sister were orphaned before
the age of 5 and placed in an orphanage in the Midwest where they
were abused and neglected, “horribly,” Andy recalls. The memories
of those years and of his mother’s tragic death in a train accident
bring tears to his eyes. At the age of 16, Andy ran away, promising
his sister he would return for her as soon as he could. Andy joined
the Navy and has the documentation
Andy Rasch, 107, with
medals, ribbons and other
memorabilia from his service years.
to prove it. He served aboard
the USS Oklahoma battleship during WWI, and he has an array of
ribbons for bravery and a flag from that era.
“They didn’t give medals – they gave
ribbons," he recalls. He points out the heavy fabric of the flag
and the predominant white stitching at the edges: “They don’t sew
flags with this type of stitching anymore,” he explains. Andy’s
story about his WWI service was broadcast by a local TV station in
2006. The station verified his service with the Veterans
Administration. Andy continues, talking in more detail about how he
went into a burning section of the ship and rescued four men: “I
kept going back in and pulling them out,” he says, “there was fire
the war ended, Andy kept his promise to his sister. “She was outside
in the yard and I motioned to her to come to the wrought iron
fence. I told her, ‘Come with me, Sister, we’ll be all right.’ She
was so thin that she managed to squeeze through the bars of the
fence.” They remained very close even after she married at the age
of 21. He keeps a photo of her nearby his favorite chair in the
living room of the small apartment where he lives alone.
“You’ll be surprised when you see me,” Andy
tells me on the phone. “I’m not a ‘little
old man.'" In fact,
Andy is about 6 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds he
says. He and a “lady friend,” who lives nearby and is in her 90s,
enjoy going out for breakfast at the local IHOP and sometimes she
cooks for him. Other times, friends take him out for meals. “I’m
not much of a cook – never have been – but I can manage,” he assures
me. “I grew four inches and put on my natural weight, once I got
out of that place [the orphanage] – they were starving us. Even the
Navy food tasted good to me,” he says ruefully. “Other guys used to
complain; I was grateful.”
Andy also served in WWII as an Army
Reservist. Throughout his life he has been involved in
organizations helping children, and he continues to do so. “His
philanthropy is impressive,” friend Iness confirms. “He really
cares about the welfare of children who need assistance, no matter
what their circumstances.” The high rate of homeless children is
one of his many concerns, and he donates to local organizations to
try and make a difference. “If you can make a difference in one
child’s life, then you’ve accomplished something,” Andy believes.
“When we grew up (referring to his sister), there wasn’t anyone to
help us – we had to make it on our own. I’m glad to see people
caring about kids today.”
Over the years, Andy has collected
newspaper articles of fellow WWI veterans, including obituaries. “I
used to keep in touch with a couple of guys in Wisconsin,” he says,
“but they are gone now.” He also has a recent article about Frank
Buckles, 108, shown at the White House with President George W.
Bush. [Mr. Buckles is recognized as the last surviving WWI
veteran.] “He may be the oldest WWI Vet,” Andy remarks, “but he’s
not the last!” Does he mind being left out? “Not really. I know
who I am and what I’ve done in my life,” he says philosophically.
“Except that he gets to be buried in Arlington [National] Cemetery.”
Good Health and Aging Bernardo LaPallo writes book about healthy
were in his presence, visiting with him, hearing one of his lectures
on health and nutrition, or joining him for a brisk mile or two
walk, you would think he’s a man of about 77. You would be off by 30
At 107, Bernardo LaPallo (pictured) is a
vibrant, articulate, inspirational centenarian and the author of
“Age Less/Live More: Achieving Health and Vitality at 107 and
In this slim volume, he passes on the
wisdom he learned from his father, a physician, who set him on his
course in life
lead to both longevity and a very high quality of good health. And
while it’s true that both of his parents lived long, Bernardo
cautions against complacency – “Good genes can only take you so
far,” he says confidently. “You also have to take good care of your
health; that’s your responsibility.”
Born in Brazil, he grew up in New York
City, has traveled widely, and lives independently with his wife of
50 years. He is working on his second book, which will be much
larger, he explains, and will detail the nutrition plan he has
followed from childhood, which obviously has served him well.
There'll Always Be a Story to Tell
Mildred Heath, 100
Heath sees no reason to tamper with life patterns that have served
her well. So she continues to work as a
reporter, is active in community groups and serves as writer of the
annual Christmas letter to keep far-flung relatives informed about
At 100 years old, Heath continues to
cheerfully blast through life with distinctive verve. She has, in
recent years, made a handful of accommodations to the aging process:
She no longer bakes her own bread —“I just don’t have the time”—and
she has given up driving a car. Her preference? Whirring along the
sidewalks on an electric scooter since breaking her hip six years
She wakes up at six every morning,
then presses on to her 30-hour-a-week job at the weekly Overton
Beacon Observer. There she calls sources to gather community news,
serves as receptionist, files photographs and takes advertisements.
“I’m needed. That’s why I’m working,” says Heath, who once published
the little newspaper with her late husband and now works for her
son-in-law, the publisher. Her granddaughter is the third member of
Retirement is not an option for
Heath, who always totes a notepad for when she encounters something
newsworthy. “I’ll work as long as I’m able. I enjoy it. I grew up in
Last week the woman who the Nebraska
Press Association believes is the oldest working journalist in
America was flown to Washington, D.C., to receive the 2008 America’s
Oldest Worker Award from Experience Works, which provides employment
assistance for older workers.
Excerpt - Source:
AARP Bulletin Today, Sharon L. Peters; Photo:
The Omaha-World Herald
McBurney, 106, Releases Audio Book.
Waldo McBurney, 106
Four years ago, Waldo
McBurney penned his autobiography. So, you’re thinking, many people
write autobiographies. True. But the title of Waldo’s book clues you
to its content: “My First 100 Years, A Look Back From the Finish
At the time his book was published in
2004 (click to view our archive
webpage), Waldo was 102 years old and living independently with
his wife Vernice in a small community in Kansas. He had 100 colonies
of bees, processed honey and walked daily from his home to his
office and the post office every day. He also gardened and traveled.
Today, in 2008, the same is true for Waldo, who celebrated his 106th
birthday in October. And, Waldo’s book is now available as an audio
book with Waldo reading his own words.
The photo above shows Waldo autographing copies of his audio book at
the audio book’s release party, which was well attended. His audio
book (and book) is available at
www.amazon.com, where a review by a customer stated: “What a
treasure! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this wonderful story! …
Waldo's detailed picture of hard work on the family farm in the
early 1900s, and his reverence for a wise and thrifty Mother, who
could run circles around Martha Stewart, encouraged me to count my
blessings and to appreciate the modern day conveniences we so take
for granted …”
Congratulations on another milestone,
Our Fab Five
centenarians are mentioned
in Barbara Walters' new book - Audition
Writes Barbara Walters: “I particularly liked doing the
Special this year ... called How to Live to Be 150. It
was cutting-edge science, including the latest in stem-cell
research and a drug that now fights aging in mice and may in
the future work on humans. Mind-boggling!
"As part of the Special I
interviewed half a dozen on-the-ball men and women who were
each 100 years old or older. My favorite was 101-year-old
Dorothy, who came with her 94-year-old boyfriend. Dorothy
told me that she is happier now than she has ever been. She
had been married, she said, for forty-six years before her
husband died, but it was a bad marriage and finally she had
found true love. So there you are. It really is never too
late.” Click to learn more about
Dorothy Young and view a video of her life.
Dorothy’s romance doesn’t surprise us at all, and that was
the main point of including her with Stan at the taping of
the Barbara Walters Special — to show that we don’t outgrow
our need and desire for love and relationships of all kinds,
even in advanced age.
Curtis and Curran
Carter are identical twins, and they turned 100 years old the end of
August. They are one of this country's oldest sets of male identical
twins. The brothers have spent their entire lives in Indiana and
have lived about a mile apart from each other.
"With us, togetherness would be the word," Curtis
said to the Evansville Courier & Press." Before one of us
thought of something and it was gone, the other had the same
In addition to the predictable "good clean
living and hard work," Curtis has another reason for their
longevity: "It's also your attitude toward life. You have to look
forward to things to keep you here."
Happy Birthday! to
identical twins Curtis and
Curran Carter. They are one of this country's
oldest sets of male identical twins.
Twins Turn 100 ... Still Driving!
Identical twins, Eloise Rogers and Lois Fisher,
turned 100 on June 29th. Happy Birthday! Photo: courtesy of Anne Hart
Happy Birthday to identical twins Eloise
Rogers and Lois Fisher, who turned 100 on June 29th. Identical twins
turn 100 – extremely rare! AND, they are still driving!
The twin sisters live across the street from each other, and every
day one of them picks the other up and away they go – to the mall,
for lunch, and other fun adventures.
At age 98, Eloise’s Chevy gave out and she bought
a new Honda “because it was known for its longevity.” The
twins look and act years younger than their chronological age, but
their driver’s licenses tell the tale: They were born the same
year that the Model T Ford was introduced, 1908. Congratulations
Eloise and Lois on reaching the century mark!
1998-2013 National Centenarian Awareness Project & Lynn Peters
No material, in whole or in part, may be reprinted
or reproduced in any form without the prior written permission
of Lynn Peters Adler and the National Centenarian Awareness Project.