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It’s hard to comprehend reaching 104 years old, but Flushing resident Edmund Robert Mahoney does it daily.
In 1906, when Mahoney was born on his father Edmund’s potato farm in Cutchogue, L.I., Teddy Roosevelt became the first president to travel outside the country while in office, the magnetic North Pole had just been located by explorer Roald Admundsen and there were only 44 stars on the U.S. flag.
No surprise then that Mahoney’s birthday celebration Nov. 14 at the Woodman Assisted Living Retirement Residence in Flushing drew the attention of local officials. Honors were bestowed by state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) as well as City Councilmen Peter Koo (R-Flushing) and Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and encapsulated everyone’s feelings: “104 years — amazing.”
“Amazing” is an apt word for Met fan Mahoney, who according to his daughter, Eileen Murphy, “was always strong, with a calm disposition and a dry sense of humor.” He worked his land, Shamrock Farm, until the 1960s, eventually coming to live with Murphy and her family in Whitestone.
“But when we were kids, we never went to Waldbaum’s — we went into the garden,” she recalled.
The old farm is now “some housing and vineyards,” according to Murphy. The Shamrock Farm name has been used by a nearby Christmas tree farm since 1987.
“Dad is sad sometimes because he’s outlived everyone else,” she observed, although he has a son and daughter, three granddaughters and five great-grandsons.
“He wasn’t doing all that well at home alone, so we found a place for him here,” she said of the 47-bed residence at 147-02 34th Ave. in Flushing. “I drop in all the time and he’s always well-cared for.”
The home, which will be renamed Sutton Gardens by year’s end is all on one floor and tries to be more like a real home than a facility, according to operator Brian Rosenman. “We’re hoping to get a proclamation from the mayor for Edmund,” he said.
Mahoney’s humor isn’t completely dry. When asked the inevitable question about his secret for living a century and more, he replied with near-perfect comedic timing, “Good farm food … and good Irish whiskey.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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