On Sunday, June 26th from 11am-1pm, Emerald Court will be celebrating the 110th birthday of Connie Williams, a centenarian resident who has a zest for life and believes the purest form of happiness is through laughter. For her upcoming birthday celebration, hosted by Emerald Court, Williams got to pick the lunch menu, which includes some of her favorites such as tea sandwiches, mimosas and chocolate cake. Additionally, swing or ‘jitterbug’ dancers will be performing at the community, William’s favorite genre of dance.
“Connie is a very active member of our community at Emerald Court,” says Daizel Gasperian, executive director of Emerald Court. “We couldn’t be more excited to put together this special celebration for her to recognize her resilience and grace.”
Throughout her life, Williams has been known for her fierce independence and cheerful outlook. After graduating from high school, she went to Chicago for business school in the 1930’s. She recalls one of her first jobs, where she stuffed and filed envelopes for 10 cents an hour to pay for her rent at the time, which was only $15. “I’ve had a wonderful life,” says Williams. “I was the ‘kid’ of the family, but one thing was different – we always obeyed our mother.”
Later in life, Williams remained booked and busy. In fact, one of her biggest accomplishments was walking over 10,000 miles between 2000 and 2008. For most of her life, walking has been the main activity that has kept her active and lively. Despite now being hard of hearing and visually impaired, she takes pride in her ability to keep her body moving, and frequently continues to walk a mile a day around the Emerald Court community. She also loves to dance and takes every opportunity she can to do it. “I would rather be dancing than eat,” said Williams. “My best dancing days were the jitterbug days.”
“While Connie has some challenges due to her age, for being 110, she has a fantastic memory,” says Pat Olson, resident of Emerald Court and close friend of Williams. “She can name every president in order from the time she was born.”
Williams’ resolve is contagious to the rest of the community, and many residents and associates are especially excited to celebrate this momentous milestone with her. Environmental services director at Emerald Court, Pablo Gonzalez, has developed a special friendship with Williams, which began almost twenty years ago when Gonzalez had just started working at the community as a server in the dining room.
“I got to know Connie best when I started working at the reception desk,” laughs Gonzalez. “She noticed that I wrote with my left hand and nicknamed me Southpaw. She is an incredible individual and it has been wonderful getting to know her over the years. I am looking forward to celebrating this milestone with her.”
Since Williams’ 100th birthday, she has a worn a tiara gifted to her by the community. Each year, they change the number, a simple act that she appreciates and looks forward to every year. This year, her tiara will proudly display 110.
“Connie is a huge inspiration to the community,” says Gasperian. “She is a reminder to all of us that life doesn’t stop or slow down once you age, and that being remaining vigilant in your life’s goals is possible if you put your mind to it”