Seven Beaver County centenarians honored at Day at the Mall
Aug 1, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
It was a birthday party of the century! Seven Beaver County residents ages 100 through 106 were the special guests of the Celebrating a Century event at Senior Day at the Mall on July 11 at the Beaver Valley Mall.
Centenarians honored were Gustina Howze of Beaver Falls, 100; Lillian Westerman of Patterson Township, 101; Chester Zaluski of Harmony Township, who will turn 100 in November; Trudie Powell of Center Township, 102; Catherine Mahoney of Baden, 101 and will turn 102 in September; Helene Crouse of Baden, 100; and Mildred Coene of Patterson Township, who is 106 and will turn 107 in August.
A biographical vignette of each person was read by master of ceremonies Angela Gentile of the Beaver County Office on Aging. There were presentations of well wishes, certificates and gifts from Beaver County Commissioners Tony Amadio, Joe Spanik and Dennis Nichols; Rep. Jim Marshall and Rep. Jim Christiana; staff from the offices of Rep. Rob Matzie and Senator Elder Vogel; and the Beaver County Office on Aging.
Professional dancer instructor Deena Felice and partner Carl danced prior to the ceremony and “Elvis” entertained afterward. Honorees, their families and guests were treated to lunch at Center at the Mall compliments of Senator Vogel and the Beaver County Office on Aging.
Gustina Howze has resided in Beaver Falls since she was a young girl. She is the mother of three: son Ronald Sanford, daughter Laverne Newman who is deceased and daughter Becky McKay. She is the grandmother of eight grandchildren, three of whom are deceased; great grandmother of 15 and great-great grandmother of nine.
The granddaughter of a slave, she moved to Beaver Falls from Dayton, Ohio, with her mother, stepfather and sister. While extremely bright, she dropped out of high school after 10th grade because the school work she was being given was repetitive of her previous schooling in Ohio. She never lost her thirst for knowledge and was an avid reader. She learned to play piano later in life and served as her church pianist for several years.
Gustina worked outside of the home at various times, and she was a homemaker but not in the traditional sense. Granny, as she is know by practically everyone in Beaver Falls, was the repair and handyperson of the family, doing everything from plumbing, minor electrical work, painting inside and outside, replacing sidewalks, plastering and building new cabinets in the kitchen. While it has been years since she has been able to do this work, she still can explain to someone how it should be done.
For many years, until her late 90s, Gustina drove anyone needing a ride to the voting polls. She currently takes computer classes at the Carnegie Free Library in Beaver Falls, and she has her own computer to email family members. She is the oldest member of Second Baptist Church in Beaver Falls.
Lillian Westerman grew up in New Sewickley Township. She was a homemaker and has five children, four sons and a daughter, seven grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and one great-great grandson.