MEDIA, PA — Fifty-seven centenarians from Delaware County were honored at Delaware County’s 21st annual Centenarian Birthday Celebration hosted by the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) on May 22 at the Drexelbrook Event Center in Drexel Hill.
Many of the centenarians were born or were babies in 1923- the same year that the original Yankee Stadium opened its doors in the Bronx, brothers Roy, Walt Disney founded “The Walt Disney Company,” the first issue of TIME magazine was published, a new home cost an average of $6,300, and a gallon of gas cost just 22 cents.
Barbara Nicolardi, Director of COSA, was joined by Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor, Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer, Councilman Kevin Madden, Councilwoman Christine Reuther, Councilman Richard Womack, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, and Sheriff Jerry Sanders in congratulating the attendees and presenting each of the residents with a ceremonial proclamation of exemplary citizenship. Cake, a fresh flower corsage, and souvenir photos were provided, with live music adding to the festive atmosphere.
“Older adults play vital, positive roles in Delaware County — as family members, friends, mentors, volunteers, civic leaders, members of the workforce, and more,” said Barbara Nicolardi “Ensuring that older adults remain involved and included in our communities for as long as possible benefits us all.”
The luncheon, held annually each May, is part of COSA’s Older Americans Month. The theme for this year’s Older Americans Month and Centenarian Luncheon is “Aging Unbound.” Delaware County is home to over 200 residents who are 100 years of age or turning 100 in 2023.
The eldest celebrant, Herman Whilby, born on April 22, 1918, in Jamaica, is 105 years old. Mr. Whilby came to America with his mother in the early 1920s, worked many jobs over his lifetime and retired from the machine shop of James Peters and Son. His secret to longevity, he says, is that he doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke and lives a “normal life.” He also offered some words of wisdom: “Treat everybody good and, as you go along in life, do the best you can.”
The eldest female celebrant, Sarah Narvell, born in Chester on February 9, 1920, is 103 years old. As a teen, Ms. Narvell attended school in West Chester where she learned to ride horses. An avid reader, she enjoyed travel and camping, and enjoys her summer house in Maryland. She attributes her longevity to good living and takes a lot of vitamins and supplements to keep her healthy.
Six U.S. Veterans were in attendance as well. Donald Harrison, 100, of Springfield; Aaron Lipson, 100, of Drexel Hill; Henry Marini, 101, of Glen Mills; Newton Meade, 99, of Thornton; Ralph Perkner, 102, of Broomall; and Elizabeth Zwijsen, 101, of Glen Mills.
Centenarians who were unable to attend will be visited by COSA staff and presented with a proclamation.