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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Milford woman celebrates 109 years

Don't use the word 'old' here

By Pamela McLoughlin
Register Staff
— Gertrude Noone may be 109, but when she answered the question, “Have you been following the 2008 presidential race?” she passed the litmus test for perfect lucidity.
“Who couldn’t be following it? It’s been going on the news every minute,” she answered.
Noone, shown at right, believed to be the oldest Connecticut resident, was a standout of sorts Wednesday in a room of standouts: folks 100 and over who were honored at an annual luncheon held by the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut. The luncheon is held in the beginning of May as a kick-off to Older Americans Month.
Neysa Stallman Guerino, executive director of the agency, said many are under the misconception that older Americans are “all sick and in bed and not leading active lives.”
Guerino gestured toward the room full of guests at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven and said, “They’re certainly an inspiration to what people can do.”
There was Angelina Karlon, 101, who was friends with Babe Ruth’s wife, as her hubby, the late John Karlon was a catcher and outfielder for the Yankees. Flo Diehl, 104, had hip replacement surgery two weeks before her 101st birthday, the oldest person ever to have the procedure and she attributes her longevity to clean living and eating lots of vinegar and onions. Mildred Johnson, 100, says her long life is due to close relationships and fellowship in her church; Adelaide DeLucia, 100, was the first dietician at the Hospital of St. Raphael; Ralph Materessa, 101, says he has good genes and if he could go back and grab one item from his past it would be his youth. Flora Harriet Phifer, 101, still enjoys reading her Bible, sewing, crossword puzzles and watching, “The Price is Right.”
Noone, a member of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, never married, takes no medication and only stopped driving in 1990. She lives at Carriage Green in Milford, an assisted living facility, and except for some compromised hearing and sight, enjoys great health.
Still a stylish dresser who has her nails and hair done regularly, Noone prefers talking politics and stock market to pondering what it is that kept her alive all these years, but she does admit having “good health and plenty of money,” is a plus if you’re going to live so long.
Noone’s favorite president of all time was Harry S. Truman.
“He saved my life and everybody else’s when he dropped that bomb,” she said, referring to the atomic bomb dropped on Japan in the summer 1945. Noone still cherishes the memory of meeting Bess Truman who had a “nice, soft handshake.”
So far in the current election she favors John McCain because she feels there’s something “presidential” about him.
One drawback to McCain being president?
“He’s a little old,” she says.
Barack Obama is smart, she said, but makes too many promises about how everything would be perfect under his presidency. As for Hillary Clinton, Noone wonders how the senator looks so rested and keeps her face in such great shape despite long, long hours on the campaign trail.
“They’re all putting on a good show, promising to give you everything they have instead of taking care of their friends (poltically)...It’s all about money,” Noone said. “The world is changing - you have to take things as they come.”
As for the stock market Noon advises: Let the money stay in when the market goes up, as well as when it comes way down.
Although not one to dwell on her age, Noone does quickly add that she’s 109 and “four months.”
“What can I do about it? Life goes on,” she said.


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