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Celebrating Our Centenarians

Newtown Square Friends & Neighbors, September 2022
Marguerite Wagner, 102 years old
Photo courtesy of Carol Wagner

Albert Einstein once said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” That’s the thing about wisdom, it cannot be taught. We gain it over time, through our own life experiences and sage advice from those who know a thing or two about living a long, meaningful life.

Join us this month as we celebrate National Centenarian’s Day on September 22nd. It is a day set aside each year to celebrate and honor those who have reached the age of 100. The day was originally proclaimed as a time to partake in the rich history and wisdom shared by centenarians. 

Over the years, as the human population and life expectancy have increased, so have the number of people who live to 100 years of age. According to the United Nations, there are over 570,000 centenarians in the world currently, with the United States being home to 97,000 of them. 

When you stop to think about it, our current centenarians have lived and experienced more life-changing events than our future generations can ever imagine. These precious members of society have lived through the Great Depression, World Wars and Civil Wars. They’ve witnessed the invention of television, the golden age of radio, the innovation of air travel, all the way to the exploration of space and the digital revolution — they have lived and seen it all in one lifetime!

Listening to centenarians’ stories is always inspiring, and this is one day to be cherished by everyone to honor those among us who have seen a century go by. 

One of our local centenarian’s is Marguerite Wagner. Marguerite was featured in Newtown Square Friends & Neighbors magazine back in 2020 when she celebrated her 100th birthday. She and her husband, Gus moved to Newtown Square in 1980 and raised their two children here. 

Marguerite is now 102 years old and lives with her daughter, Carol. When asked how she got to 102, she said, “How did I get here? One day at a time.” Marguerite has lived through many challenging times including the Great Depression, an automobile accident in 1931, World War II and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.  

These days, Marguerite likes to spend time knitting and listening to classical music. She offered some advice for our younger generation. “Relax, don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake,” she said. “Take a long walk and a short nap every single day. You can do it if you take it one day at a time.” 

Roberta Taylor with Dunwoody’s Recreation
Manager, Carolyn Treadway

Photo courtesy of Monica Knauss

Roberta Taylor, a 20-year resident at Dunwoody Village will celebrate her 103rd birthday on December 29th. She was born in Newport, RI and moved to the area with her husband after World War II to raise their three children. After her husband passed away, Roberta decided to move to Dunwoody Village where she enjoys reading the newspaper and watching movies with her fellow residents.

Keeping her mind and her body active is the key to her long life. Roberta’s advice is, “You have to stay interested and participate in life,” she said. “Just keep you mind and your body moving.” 

Mr. Eugene Vickers with his daughters to
celebrate his 105th birthday. (L-R): Beverly,
Brenda, Eugene, Barbara and Betty Jean

Photo courtesy of Barbara Vickers

One of our most cherished Newtown Square residents, Mr. Eugene Vickers, was no stranger to our magazine. Mr. Vickers, a family man, and retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant recently passed away at 106 years old, surrounded by his loving family.

Eugene’s daughter, Barbara Vickers said that her father considered his faith and his family his number one priority. “As a family we ate dinner together, many times guessing what he had eaten for lunch that day. He made it a game and we loved to play along,” she recalled. “Dad helped us with our homework, played softball with us, read Bible stories and prayed with us before bed.”

Barbara said that her father was often asked what advice he had for young people with their lives ahead of them. “Proverbs 3:5,6 in the Bible was his answer: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Centenarians will always be with us at each point in history, and all the memories of the lives they’ve lived will continue to live on when passed down.