Local/State

Philadelphia celebrates local centenarians

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mayor Nutter has officially declared Thursday "Centenarians Celebration Day" in Philadelphia!

It was a day to honor more than 400 city residents who are at least 100 years old.

Philadelphia has one of the country's oldest populations. There are 452 people living in the city who are age 100 or older, and many of them attended Thursday's celebration in South Philadelphia.

It was the Mayor's 12th Annual Centenarian Luncheon where the guests of honor are all life-long Philadelphians, and all are either 100 years old or older or will be age 100 sometime this year.

Ruthe Hopson turns 100 in November.

"Well, you know Miss Clairol takes care of me," Ruthe said.

Lillie Bailey came to celebrate with her family. She turned 104 in February.

Mitchel Atkins will be 100 in August. Victoria Copeland is turning 101, and Eula Cousins' nephew came all the way from Atlanta to help her celebrate 100.

The oldest person celebrating Thursday and the oldest resident in Pennsylvania is Anna Henderson who is 112! She was born in 1900, the same year the Philadelphia Orchestra played their first notes.

The oldest man is Lazer Ayzmen who will soon be 107. He was born in Moscow, enlisted in the Red Army at age 16, then World War Two, and later became the equivalent of the CEO of PECO in Russia.

And he's still quite a flirt.

"If you'd like to fall in love with me, I'm not opposed," he said through an interpreter.

Katherine Appicello turned 101 in April, and Helen Birkenstock will be a centenarian in September.

The Mayor helped them cut a giant birthday cake.

103 year old Daniel Rendine still plays a little golf.

"I haven't given it up yet," said Daniel. "I'm going to try two or three holes and see what happens."

Daniel also serenaded everyone with an Italian love song.

It was a fitting salute to Philadelphia's Centenarians. Some of them are still might spry and lucid.

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philadelphia, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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