Centenarians Honored at Annual Brunch

May 2, 2013

Rhode Island has the nation’s highest concentration of individuals over the age of 85.  So, it should come as no surprise that we also have a lot of centenarians.  Some of them were honored today at the Governor’s Annual Centenarian Brunch. Rhode Island Public Radio's Flo Jonic was there.

About half of the state’s 122 centenarians enjoyed accordion music, brunch and a visit by Governor Lincoln Chafee  at the state’s 36th annual Rhode Island Governor’s Centenarians Brunch.  The oldest resident in attendance was 109-year-old Louise Silva of Warwick. She’s in frail condition so her daughter, Dorothy Silva, spoke for her.

109-year-old Louise Silva at the Centenarian's brunch
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

"She does pretty well. She plays the piano. She eats very well. She reads a lot."

The oldest man in attendance was 105-year-old Joseph Celona. For years he worked 17 hours a day, seven days a week operating a North Providence gas station.

"What’s the secret to your longevity?"
"Hard work," Celona said. "Hard work. Keep going and that’s it."

I asked Governor Chafee if he’d like to live to be 100.

"Of course," said Chafee. "[It’s] everybody’s goal. Keep living. What’s better?"

Gov. Lincoln Chafee mingles with centenarians
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

The governor has a good chance of living a long life. His grandparents survived into their 80’s and 90’s and his mother is 86.