“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!”