Three women cel­e­brate 100th birth­days at Heather­wood Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity

The Boyertown Area Times - - COMMUNITY - By Carol Quain­tance For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Three women at Heather­wood Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity in Honey Brook cel­e­brated their 100th birth­days.

On Valen­tine’s Day, Lou Lou Wood­land, An­netta Dowlin and Rhoda Fiore, all cen­te­nar­i­ans, gath­ered for lunch to mark their mile­stone birth­days.

The three had sim­i­lar yet dif­fer­ent sto­ries of what life has been like liv­ing for 100 years.

All three have their own apart­ments in the re­tire­ment com­mu­nity and pos­sess the re­mark­able spunk to keep their in­de­pen­dence.

An­netta Dowlin, for­merly of Coatesville, cel­e­brated her 100th birth­day on Nov. 27, 2016. She has been a res­i­dent for about two years.

“I have al­ways been healthy. I grew up on a dairy farm and worked as a wait­ress and in 5 and 10 cent stores grow­ing up. We were de­pres­sion kids. I had one older brother,” said Dowlin.

Her hus­band Robert served in World War II and they had one son, Robert Dowlin Jr. A de­vout Methodist, she said she prays ev­ery day.

“I re­mem­ber go­ing to the movies for 25 cents. My fa­vorite was ‘Gone with the Wind’ with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh,” she said.

Lou Lou Wood­land was joined by her cousin Marty Loomis and Rusty from Braden­ton, Fla., and her niece Joanne Miller of Ex­ton. She will cel­e­brate her 100th birth­day on April 11.

“What kept me go­ing was I never turn any­one down. When some­one in­vites you out, go!” said Wood­land.

Still true to her word, once a week she goes to the Vil­lage Li­brary card club in Mor­gan­town with friends who pick her up, and also the third week of ev­ery month to a friend’s home to play cards.

She was born and raised in Ch­ester County one of eight chil­dren. She later moved with her hus­band Vance to Nant­meal. Her hus­band also served in World War II and she worked as a wait­ress at The Hill School in Pottstown.

“I am a mem­ber of United Methodist Church in Nant­meal and trust in the Lord. I pray ev­ery day,” she said.

She drove a car un­til she was in her 90s and moved to Heather­wood eight years ago. She is blessed with lots of fam­ily and three main care­givers, Jill Shank, Louise Fadies and Joanne Miller.

Rhoda Fiore re­cently cel­e­brated her 100th birth­day on Feb. 11, 2017.

“My fam­ily took me for din­ner at the mall for my birth­day. Ev­ery­body was call­ing me a celebrity! The word spread and work­ers and servers from all over the mall were com­ing in to say Happy Birth­day. Oh, and Satur­day evening they had a re­ally big sheet cake here in the din­ing room for me,” said Fiore.

She grew up in New Jer­sey and at­tended Ea­gle Rock School, then mar­ried her hus­band Robert and had two chil­dren, Robert Jr. and Deb­o­rah and a grand­daugh­ter Melissa.

Also, her hus­band was miss­ing in ac­tion while serv­ing in World War II. He came home but died an un­timely death leav­ing her a widow rais­ing her chil­dren alone.

She moved to West Or­ange, N.J., the home of Thomas Edi­son, who in­vented the elec­tric light who died in 1931 leav­ing a very pro­gres­sive town where Fiore worked at AT&T mak­ing elec­tric com­po­nents and codes.

She said, “Age makes it hard to fit in, you lose your friends and home. When I was a lit­tle girl my mother walked me to school and when she left I turned around and fol­lowed her.”

“Ev­ery­one is very nice here. One of the servers al­ways asks me to give her a hug. We have nice apart­ments and good food,” said the talk­a­tive and lively Fiore.

The group rem­i­nisced about grow­ing up with kerosene lamps, horse and bug­gies, no TV and lucky to have ra­dios.

Cell phones, no one knows how to use one, but they re­mem­bered the ad­vent of the tele­phone, go­ing to a neigh­bors to use one and hav­ing party lines and player pi­anos.

Jean­nette Hacker Life­style Ser­vice Di­rec­tor and Vanessa Sheidy, sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor keep the res­i­dents busy with weekly events at Heather­wood Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity that is a home to a thriv­ing net­work of ac­tive se­niors and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­ates.

The three cen­te­nar­i­ans re­side there liv­ing full lives in a re­lax­ing set­ting in the beau­ti­ful coun­try­side of Honey Brook.


On Valen­tine’s Day, Lou Lou Wood­land, An­netta Dowlin and Rhoda Fiore, all res­i­dents of Heather­wood Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity in Honey Brook, gath­ered for lunch to cel­e­brate their 100th birth­days.

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