The 100 Club: Honoring Seven of the Hudson Valley’s Centenarians

In the year 1913, life expectancy in the United States was 50 and 55 years, depending on gender. (Then as now, women live longer than men.) But statistics don’t mean a thing: each of these Valley residents has beaten the odds by living to be at least 100



Photographs by Jennifer May

Is 100 the new 80? While that may be an exaggeration, the number of people living to the century mark has increased dramatically in recent years. According to the 2010 census, there were 53,364 centenarians in the U.S. — that’s up 66 percent since 1980. In fact, centenarians are the fastest-growing demographic worldwide — thanks, mainly, to better healthcare and a focus on healthy living (good genes help, too). Women are the most likely to reach this age (82.8 percent are female) and the majority of them are Caucasian. In addition, New York ranks second, behind only California, among the states with the most residents 100-plus.

In the following pages, we profile seven local ladies who have lived through the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the invention of airplanes, television, and computers. They share where they’ve been and what they’ve seen. Anna Mae Swenson of Rhinebeck recalls being quarantined during the 1918 flu pandemic, while Germantown’s Helen Henderson talks about her family getting their first radio during the ’20s so her father could listen to baseball games. Adds Rose Bailey of Pomona: “I was happy when women started wearing pants. They’re more comfortable.” Read on for more insights from these exceptional women.

katharine dean cordts

Katharine Dean Cordts

Happy hometown gal: 108-year-old Katharine Dean Cordts from Kingston
By Jennifer Leba with Hilary Sparling
anna mae swenson

Anna Mae Swenson

The soloist: 104-year-old Anna Mae Swenson from Rhinebeck
By Rosemary O’Connor
Mazie W. Johnson and Gladys Covin

Mazie W. Johnson and Gladys Covin

Soul sisters: 103-year-old Mazie W. Johnson and 101-year-old Gladys Covin from Beacon; PLUS: Watch a video interview with Mazie and Gladys
By Jennifer Leba with Hilary Sparling
 
helen henderson

Helen Henderson

Miss Independent: 101-year-old Helen Henderson from Germantown
By Rosemary O’Connor
 
rose baisley

Rose Baisley

A people person: 100-year-old Rose Baisley from Garnerville
By Rosemary O’Connor
 
marion russell pine

Marion Russell Pine

Miss Independent: 104-year-old Marion Russell Pine from New Paltz
By Rosemary O’Connor
 
gladys covin

The 100 Club

Do you know a local person who’s reached (or surpassed) age 100 and who has a good story to tell? Submit a photo and a caption, and your nomination could be selected for Hudson Valley’s 100 Club!
 

 

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