Thursday, July 8, 2021

Happy birthdays

Plymouth seniors celebrate centennials

Independence Village residents and their families
enjoy the centennial birthday celebration.
It was quite a party last month when six Plymouth residents celebrated more than 600 years of life experience.

The six were the guests of honor at a birthday party at Independence Village in Plymouth celebrating the centennial birthdays of five and the 103rd birthday of another.

The event included a visit from Plymouth Mayor Oliver Wolcott who presented official city proclamations to each of the guests of honor who also enjoyed lunch, birthday cake and live music during the afternoon. 

Among those celebrating was Jalileh Mansour who was born Aug. 15, 1921 in Ramallah, Palestine.

Mansour, who has five brothers and four sisters, remained single and dedicated her life to education and world exploration.  She started her studies in Lebanon in math and science, before traveling to places like Jordan, Paris, and South America. Mansour decided to finish her bachelor's degree in 1956 in Alabama before a career teaching middle school.

Jalilah Mansour
She said her travels gave her the best experiences of her life, including meeting the King and Queen of Jordan. From continuing her education in France and Tennessee, to visiting Egypt, she said these were the best times in her life. 

She worked for 30 years at Henry Ford Hospital doing research and retired in the early 1980s. Before moving to Plymouth, she was a 30-year resident of Livonia and traveled frequently to her two condos in Florida.

“We didn't have cell phones, and I travelled alone,” she stressed.

Elaine Galbraith
She continues to pursue her hobbies including needlework, making pillows, placemats, and tablecloths.

Mansour said her secret to a long life is staying single and living her most authentic, exciting life.

Also celebrating her milestone birthday was Dorothy Rasmussen.

Rasmussen was born Dorothy Law Aug. 7, 1921 in River Rouge. She and her husband, Harold Roy Rasmussen, were married 50 years and had nine children together and she now has six grandchildren. 

Bill Brown
Her husband was chief of the Boilermakers Union, she recalled and she was a government worker.

Rasmussen now enjoys reading, playing bingo and cards but she has given up one of her favorite hobbies, sewing. She enjoyed sewing so much, she said, that she made many of her children's clothes.

Her secret to longevity? “I'm just here is all I know!”

Elaine Galbraith was born Elaine Anna Mathieu on July 10, 1921 in Duluth, Minnesota. She married Robert Galbraith in 1949 and the couple had one son, who lives locally with his wife, Charlene. 

Mayor Oliver Wolcott
congratulates the
Galbraith said that Charlene is the best daughter-in-law she could ever wish for and trusts her with everything. Galbraith has one grandchild and one great-grandchild.

Galbraith previously taught physical education and got her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois. She said she and her family lived in several states as her father was often promoted and transferred, including Illinois, Wyoming, New York, Minnesota, and Missouri before residing in Michigan.

A resident of Independence Village for 10 years, Galbraith said she loves living on her floor and thinks the residents are amazing. 

Galbraith still loves all sports and also enjoys reading. She said she loves making people laugh and her varied array of shirts with witty sayings make people smile.

Her secret to a long life? “Good nutrition, keep your mind and body active and stay interested in things.”

Louis Plant was born in Loiselleville. Ontario, Canada on Jan. 7, 1921. He and his family eventually moved to the United States and after graduation, Plant worked as a bookkeeper in Detroit. He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and served as the lead signalman for his ship handling the Morse code blinker light and flag hoist. After being honorably discharged, Plant married and he and his wife, Rita, are the parents of three children.

Evie Vinton, the oldest of the birthday celebrants, was born on July 5, 1918, in Grand Rapids. She married her sweetheart “Frank” in 1940, but was widowed when he was killed in a plane crash while on a training mission. Distraught and needing direction, she said, she joined the U.S. Army feeling it would give her guidance and purpose. 

She eventually married Bob Vinton, a friend of her late husband, and they adopted two girls. Vinton now has several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Vinton, at 103, continues to write poetry and is the oldest resident at Independence Village.

William Brown also marked his 100th birthday during the celebration. 

Brown was born in Syracuse, NY on June 13 1921. A machinist, he received an 18-month delay before entering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His group was responsible for repairing roads, buildings and any other repairs needed at various areas. 

In 1946 he returned from the service to his wife, Mildred and he eventually built a machine shop in Canton Township. He went on to get his pilot's license and fly a twin-engine airplane. 

The couple are the parents of three daughters and one son, along with nine grandchildren;  29 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren with another on the way.

Brown now spends his time doing what he loves, he said, building model airplanes and flying them, and flying his real airplane with his son. 

Brown can still comfortably wear his World War II Army uniform, and said his secret to a long life, is his love for people. He said he loves “to talk to people, work with people. I've met people all around the world and found that they are so nice if you just talk to them.”

Independence Village Executive Director Debbie Hall said the party was really a first for this number of centenarians at the facility. She said that in past years, there may have been as many as three marking the one-century milestone, but never six.

She said that while the residents may each have their own individual secret to longevity, she believes there is one common factor.

“We keep them engaged and happy and, most importantly, we give them something to look forward to every day, which is the ticket to longevity for all of us,” she said.