Senior Citizens of the Year
A native of Wappingers Falls, Pete Sanfilippo has been volunteering in his community for as long as he can remember. Always involved in sports, Pete has coached CYO basketball and Little League for both the village and the town. He organized the annual Joseph McDonald/Bill Crusie Memorial Run for 36 years, the Knights of Columbus Holiday Run for 34 years, the Lady of Lourdes Run for 17 years, the Hall of Fame Run for 13 years, the Mama & Papa Run/Walk for senior citizens for 7 years. He has been a volunteer at the W.T. Garner Fire Co. since 1950 and a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1974. Pete and his wife Jean (of 61 years) volunteer for Meals on Wheels and are lifelong parishioners of St. Mary’s Church. Pete was honored by the Mid Hudson Road Runners Club with their first annual Pete Sanfilppo Winter Run Race this past February.
James & Laura Moriarty
Celebrating their 54th Wedding Anniversary this year, Poughkeepsie’s Jim & Laura Moriarty were married in Germany while Jim was stationed there in the Army. Like Pete, they deliver Home Delivered Meals and attend St. Mary’s where they are both Eucharistic Ministers and Jim serves on the Building & Grounds and Mausoleum Committee. For over 15 years they coached the Holy Trinity Marlins swim team and Jim was volunteer referee for any number of sporting events. Laura was a volunteer Girl Scout leader while her girls were growing up and these days she leads the Office for the Aging senior exercise class at St. Martin De Porres and volunteers at the F.W. Vanderbuilt Gardens. Together they serve on the Retired Senior Volunteer Program Advisory Council which encourages other seniors to volunteer and for over a decade have volunteered for the Office for the Aging’s Summer Senior Picnic program.
Theodore & Delores Plass
Ted & Delores are both volunteers at the Roosevelt Fire Company #2 where they are involved in the Fire Police and Ted is a volunteer exterior firefighter. In the past, Ted has been Lieutenant, Captain, and President of the Company as well as the District Safety Officer and Delores was involved with the EMT’s. Ted is President of the Board of Directors of the Union Cemetery in Hyde Park and Delores is the Secretary. They attend the Hyde Park Methodist Church where among other volunteer duties, Ted is a weekly morning service greeter and Delores volunteers at the Church thrift store. One day on a billboard they saw the slogan “You rest, you rust” and it has become their motto ever since.
Senior Achievement Awards
For over 20 years, Diane Soyka has volunteered for the Hyde Park Meals on Wheels program, volunteering for virtually every role including treasurer and manager before retiring from her position earlier this year. We honor her for her years of dedication to this invaluable program.
Since moving to Dutchess County in 1980, Gail Parzyck has been a dynamic patriot supporting both current and former military members. She started her own not for profit called the Independence Belles and volunteers for numerous organizations from Castle Point to D.A.R to the Mended Hearts Society.
Dutchess County Couples Married Over 70 Years
Arthur and Joann Plog were high school sweethearts who started dating in their teens, but first met as children growing up in Poughkeepsie when his uncle married her aunt. After Arthur came home from serving in WWII, they got married and both worked at General Electric. Arthur went on to work for IBM for 32 years retiring in 1984. Arthur says the secret to their successful, loving marriage is: “Responsibility, taking care of each other, and taking care of your health," and he considers himself extremely lucky. Arthur and Joann Plog will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary next month!
Salvatore & Josephine Mastrosimone lived across the street from each other as kids in the Bronx. Sal (who turns 98 this summer) says they used to see each other in the neighborhood, but nothing special developed until a few years later, when after just one date, they both felt an undeniable magic. Sal was in the Army during WWII and after the war the couple eventually settled in Yonkers for 45 years where Sal started an embroidery business. The Mastrosimone’s moved to Dutchess County over eleven years ago to be closer to their son. This October, Sal & Josephine will celebrate their 71st Wedding Anniversary!
Harold and Florence Miller were introduced by friends back in 1940 and were married the following year. Just a few months later, Harold was called off to WWII and earned 3 battle stars. In 1952, the couple incorporated their first Charter Bus Company: The Acorn Coach. Harold was the driver and mechanic and Florence handled the office duties. In 1978 they moved to Wappinger where Florence enjoys gardening and Harold still cuts the firewood for chilly nights. This Christmas will mark their 72nd Wedding Anniversary!
Lossie and Sam Lee were married in Georgia, but have spent most of their married life as respected members of the Fishkill community. For several decades they were both members of the Fishkill Volunteer Fire Department and Lossie volunteered at the Fishkill Thrift shop. Since 1951, they have been active members of the Beulah Baptist Church. The Lee’s have a very large and loving extended family as evidenced by the number that will join them this December when Sam & Lossie Lee will celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary!
Residents over the age of 100 are the fastest growing segment of our population and their numbers are predicted grow to over 1 million in the next 40 years! If you were born 100 years ago, you were alive for the very first income tax form and crossword puzzle – you also witnessed the opening of Grand Central Terminal, Ebbets Field and the Apollo Theater. Some of the famous people who were born 100 years ago include Vince Lombardi, Rosa Parks, and former Presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon. The oldest living person in the world today is Jiroemon Kimura of Japan who turned 116 last month. He has now been verified as the longest living male in recorded history. Of the almost 70 centenarians who live right here in Dutchess County – we are happy to welcome today 21 from virtually every area of our county.
Our first Dutchess Centenarian, Barbara Muller, was born in Germany and emigrated to NYC when she was 12. She is one of 10 siblings in a family with a lot of longevity – her mother and older sister lived to 97 and her younger sister is currently 97. Barbara met her husband at a German dance and together they raised two children. When her husband passed away, she moved to Hopewell to be closer to her son George and his wife Sally. Barbara was a longtime member of the Stueben Society and is still a member of the St. Denis Altar & Rosary Society. She currently resides at the McLelland Home for Adults were she will turn 100 this November.
Ruth Lauritsen, grew up on a farm in Beacon until she was 19 and went to school for nursing. She spent most of her life in different nursing positions until she says she found her “dream job” as a nurse at Gayhead School in Hopewell. Ruth now lives at the Fountains at Millbrook where she enjoys walking the grounds, attending the various musical events and working in her garden. For over 4 decades she has been a friend of Flo Williams one of our other Centenarians as they both attended St. John’s Church in Poughkeepsie. This October Ruth will celebrate her 100th birthday!
Mae Lawson grew up as one of seven children during the depression and as a teen worked at a department store to help support her family. In 1978, she moved to Poughkeepsie to be closer to her daughter, May. She was named grandmother of the year at her granddaughter's elementary school where her cookies and warm demeanor make her a bit of a celebrity. Mae’s incredibly positive outlook helped her fully recover from a fractured hip two years ago that doctors predicted would keep her from walking again. Today, Mae is still walking and plans to celebrate her 100th birthday in Hawaii this July.
Mary Linich was born and raised in Poughkeepsie. She was married to her husband Carlton for 49 years and they raised 6 children together. Mary worked as a telephone operator and her hobbies include sewing and cooking. Mary has a message for the younger people in the audience: “Don’t smoke, don’t drink, and keep learning.” Mary Linich will turn 100 next month.
Ann Soraci was born in Brooklyn and moved to Pawling in 1937 with her husband Carl to whom she was married for 75 years. She has always had a love of singing and was a member of several choral groups over the years – in fact, a few weeks ago, Ann was on the Walkway Over the Hudson attempting to break the world record for the longest chorus line. Her family credits her long life to her positive attitude – she has never uttered a bad word about anyone and always manages to find the bright side of every situation. This Wednesday, Ann Soraci will mark her 100th birthday!
Sarina Ringwood was also born and raised in Poughkeepsie and owned a beauty shop on Main Street for many years. She says she always enjoyed doing hair and even worked as the cosmetician at Torsone Funeral Parlor for a while….she says she was never afraid of dead people and they never complained. Sara swears she is only 85, but our records show she celebrated her 100th birthday this past February.
The youngest of 12 children, Hulda Sullingsloh was President of her High School Class and went on to study law. She eventually became President of the Houston Women’s Bar Association and later moved to Beacon with her late husband August where together they raised four successful children. Hulda discovered a talent for painting and poetry late in life and had one her poems published last year. She believes she has lived this long because she strives to be a force for goodness and stays active and engaged in life. Hulda Sullingsloh, a 30 year cancer survivor, celebrated her 100th birthday in November.
Daniel Lichtenberg was born and raised in the Bronx and has been a book collector since the age of 5. When he tried to go into the book collecting business as a college student, he says he found out quickly it was a good way to starve to death. His girlfriend at the time wouldn’t marry him until he had a real job – so Daniel went to college and had a long career in social work. Longer still was his 70 year marriage to that girlfriend – his first wife Ann. Daniel is joined today by his second wife Pearl who he met while buying books. He says his aspiration since he was young was to be retired and that one of his greatest pleasures in life is talking. Last November he turned 100 years young!
Rose Conigliaro was born in Manhattan and was married and raised two children. After her husband passed away, Rose lived for 25 years by herself in an apartment building full of other widows who all looked after each other. At the age of 98, realizing she had outlived many of her friends, she reluctantly agreed to move to what she calls the “boondocks” of Dutchess County to be closer to her daughter. Other than double by-pass surgery at the age of 90, Rose is in great health and enjoys the company of her many friends and relatives. Last September Rose celebrated birthday number 100!
Esther Swerdlow says she was born and raised in New York City surrounded by love. In turn, she has two daughters who show her a lot of love by visiting with her regularly. She graduated from Columbia University and then worked there for over 20 years. Last Wednesday, Esther Swerdlow turned 101 years young!
Edith Travis grew up in NYC and in 1943 her and her husband purchased a Dairy Farm on Robinson Lane in Wappinger. They sold the farm in 1974 but kept 5 acres across the street where they built homes for the family. Edith is still living there very independently. She still enjoys gardening, cooking and making jellies, jams and pies. Her daughter Lorraine lives next door and says her mother is constantly sending meals over to HER! Last December Edith Travis turned 101 years old.
Ethel Doshna lived her entire life in Yonkers until 3 years ago when she moved in with her daughter on her horse farm in Amenia. She worked for NY Telephone and was married to her husband Michael for 65 years until he passed away just shy of his 98th birthday. Ethel was an avid bowler and even appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show representing the Women’s International Bowling Congress. Ethel still enjoys getting her hair & nails done every week and goes to church every Sunday. Her younger brother James is celebrating his 97th birthday this week. Big sister Ethel was 102 just one month ago.
Anna Thomas, says she is a proud descendent of freed slaves. She was a telephone operator and a seamstress before finding her calling when she became a nurse – a job she loved until the day she retired. Her daughter, Barbara, says that the career was a great fit because she is "kind, soft-spoken, and has a gentle force about her." Today, Anna still loves working with people and volunteers frequently. She enjoys playing dominoes, solving word puzzles, reading, and is an avid Phillies fan. Anna is also an active member at the Tri-Town Senior Friendship Center and according to her daughter, Anna is as strong and independent as ever, which is no small feat at 102 years young.
Bess Friedman is another of our Poughkeepsie natives. She was a school librarian for many years before she was allowed to teach elementary school in the Poughkeepsie School District. In those days they were afraid of young female teachers becoming pregnant during the school year. Bess volunteered as a Red Cross Driver during WWII and after that at the Vassar Brothers Gift Shop for almost 50 years. She remains active by being part of a large circle of family & friends, going to lunch, and reading. This past February, Bess Friedman celebrated her 103rd Birthday!
Next is the story of two sisters who were among 16 siblings growing up on a South Carolina farm. Mazie & Gladys Martin grew up attending a church built by their grandfather and his brother shortly after the Civil War. They both graduated from Allen University and became elementary school teachers at a school for children of color in the rural south. In 1936, Mazie moved to Beacon and loved it so much she convinced her sister Gladys to join her – she introduced Gladys to a handsome young named Toussaint Covin who attended her church and they were married for 69 years. Mazie herself was married to her first husband Henry for 33 years and together they raised 4 children. Living next door to each other, the sisters spent decades playing important roles in their church and community. As the oldest resident of Beacon, Mazie was recently named an honorary member of the Beacon Centennial Committee and both sisters were filmed for a Centennial Video. The two sisters have become media celebrities as they were also the subjects of a documentary on the Black Heritage Network and next month, they will be featured, along with several of the other Centenarians here today in a feature story in Hudson Valley Magazine. Welcome 101 year old Gladys Covin and big sister Mazie Johnson who will mark her 104th Birthday this September!
One of the few male centenarians, Harold Goldstein loves to email and surf the internet! He is also a proud member of the Beacon Sloop Club and supporter of their environmental preservation activities. He calls himself the “ancient mariner” and until just a few years ago would still sail solo on Sylvan Lake. Always favoring us with a wise word, this August, the very quick witted Harold Goldstein will mark birthday number 104!
Theresa Riglione was born in Italy and was just 4 months old when she emigrated with her parents to lower Manhattan. She bought a summer home in Hopewell Junction in the 1950’s and in 1968, moved there permanently. She never had a driver’s license and after her husband passed away in 1970, she spent the next 36 years living independently thanks to friends, relatives and transportation services like Dial-A-Ride. Today she makes her home at Wingate at Dutchess where she will mark her 105th birthday this November.
Anna Mae Swenson is a Poughkeepsie native who many of us know as the lady who eats 9 raisins a day soaked in gin to ward off arthritis. From the age of 3, Anna Mae was a soloist in her church choir and performed at events like the 1939 Hyde Park visit of King George and Queen Elizabeth. She started a regular exercise program at the age of 80 and on days when she doesn’t have stretching class, she peddles her stationary bike. Her current odometer reading is over 75,000 miles…which is the equivalent of biking around the world 3 times. She even walked halfway across the Walkway Over the Hudson last year! To keep her mind active Anna Mae plays bridge twice a week. Even though she suffers from macular degeneration she still lives independently at Arbor Ridge in Rhinebeck. We’re excited to welcome her back as this November Anna Mae Swenson will peddle past her 105th birthday!
Florence Williams is the oldest person alive who was born and raised in Poughkeepsie. She is a lifetime member of St. John’s Evangelical Church and was the first female dental hygienist in Dutchess County. Flo currently resides at the Lutheran Care Center where she participates in many of their activities (especially the religious services, singing groups, and her newest hobby: Zumba). Flo has a very large support system of friends and relatives. It is our great honor today to welcome Florence Williams who will turn 109 years young this August!
In a little over a year, Flo Williams has the opportunity to - at the age of 110 - become Dutchess County’s very first “super-centenarian.” A very elite group - as there are currently only 60 officially verified super-centenarians in the world.