Cheektowaga centenarians celebrated at Garden Gate

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Garden Gate Healthcare Facility hosts a centenarian celebration on March 27, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Garden Gate Healthcare Facility hosts a centenarian celebration on March 27, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The Garden Gate Healthcare Facility hosted a celebration Wednesday afternoon recognizing ten residents who are 100 years of age or older.

Activities Director Rhonda Gorman says the Union Road facility usually celebrates birthdays at a monthly party, but they needed something big because this year is unique.

“There are so many residents who will be turning 100 or older – there’s 10 of them – so we thought what a great occasion to celebrate all of them,” Ms. Gorman said.

With 1,015 years of life in the room, they do a lot of living at Garden Gate.

“I think it’s becoming more common,” added Ms. Gorman.  “Just healthier people in general.  People taking care of themselves even before they come to the facility and when they come here, we have to give kudos to our wonderful staff for helping them maintain their health for as long as they can.”

Town of Cheektowaga’s Director of Senior Services, Kerry Peek was invited to join the centenarians and was surprised to see some of the founding members of the senior center.

Cheektowaga's Senior Services Director Kerry Peek talks with 100-year-old Winifred Heldrick at a centenarian celebrate at Garden Gate Healthcare Facility on March 27, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Cheektowaga’s Senior Services Director Kerry Peek talks with 100-year-old Winifred Heldrick at a centenarian celebrate at Garden Gate Healthcare Facility on March 27, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

“When I walked in I saw my friend, who now we call Winny but back in the day, we called her Peg.  Peg was one of our original members when the ground was broken at the Senior Center,” Ms. Peek said.

Winifred Heldrick celebrated her 100th birthday last week.  Ms. Peek also reminisced with Gertrude Smith who turns 102 in September and her 99-year-old sister Dorothy Kopacz.

“Two years ago I presented Gertrude with her 100th birthday certificate in her living room at a family party and now I’m waiting for Dorthy,” Ms. Peek said with a laugh.  “Another year, we’re going to come to the house with some dancing guys.”

Carletta “Billy” Rock was born on March 30, 1917, and will celebrate her 102nd birthday this Saturday.  She moved into Garden Gate 8-years-ago when she was 94.

“I just took life easy.  I had an easy life all of my years. A wonderful life,” she said. “No stress.  I had a wonderful husband for 57 years until he died.”

She was married to Edward Geroge Rock, a World War II veteran.

102-year-old Carletta Rock speaks to Erie County Commissioner of Senior Servies Timothy Hogues at a centenarian celebrate at Garden Gate Healthcare Facility on March 27, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
102-year-old Carletta Rock speaks to Erie County Commissioner of Senior Servies Timothy Hogues at a centenarian celebrate at Garden Gate Healthcare Facility on March 27, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

“I think I killed him with too much sex.  He didn’t hold up too good.  Don’t laugh, it’s true, but he was a wonderful guy,” said Ms. Rock.

Her advice for living a long life.

“Keep the sex going; that’s important, and then live a good clean life.  Don’t smoke, don’t carouse around, but just a lot of sex,” she says.  “That’s what makes the world go round; without that, you’re nothing.”

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