Mildred Laurie Gent is a pretty typical resident of Woodman Senior Living (The Donnelly Home) in Flushing.
She enjoys her daily exercise groups, attends Christian services on Sunday, reads the newspaper and participates in arts and crafts classes. Several family members come to visit her every week.
But Gent has achieved one thing that has set her apart from almost any other New York City resident: She has reached her 102nd birthday.
Woodman threw a fete Friday celebrating the occasion and Gent was the star of the party, sharing advice and humble appreciation with her fellow Woodman residents, family members, the press and several local politicians, who are readying for the Nov. 3 general election.
How did she make it to be a centenarian?
“All her life she walked a lot. Didn’t take any vitamins, but she loved being outside,” says her much younger second cousin, Pat Reimerdes-McCrossen, who did not provide her age, but attended the party to honor Gent, who she calls the “queen mother” and “figurehead” of her limited extended family.
Gent also never married, which may or may not have contributed to her longevity, but she did live with a man she met during grammar school until he died two years ago at 100.
Born in New Jersey 1907, Gent moved to Queens when she was 13 months old and has lived there ever since, spending much of her working life as an A&P supermarket bookkeeper.
A number of local politicians came to the Woodman facility to enjoy the cake, sandwiches and live music it provided for attendees, including City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), the Democratic candidate for city comptroller.
“Mildred is really a pillar of the community in every way,” he said before presenting her with a Council citation. “She’s had a great 102 years, and we’re looking forward to many more.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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