Editor’s note: Millburn resident Gale Kobray submitted this article to The Village Green. We are delighted to publish it, and we wish Edith a very happy birthday.
A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110. This age is achieved by about one in 1,000 centenarians. It is estimated that there are about 300 living people in the world who have reached the remarkable age of 110. The true number is uncertain as not all supercentenarians are known to researchers at a given time and some claims cannot be validated. One of the valid claims belongs to Edith Hodes Rose and she lives independently in Winchester Gardens, a retirement community in Maplewood.
Aside from how extraordinary it is to live to the age of 110, Edith has done this with style and a joie de vivre. She sees no reason to fuss over this birthday, and felt likewise since she turned 100. “It’s just a number and if I wake up in the morning, it’s another day to appreciate the fortunate life I enjoy.” All of her long-time friends, as well as her seven siblings and son Marc, have predeceased her. She has a tight-knit family – a daughter, Joan, a son-in-law Bill, and a son, Chuck, four grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. There are also nieces, nephews and their families, all of whom are attentive to Edith, calling and visiting quite frequently (with the exception of these past few months due to Covid 19). This is not her first pandemic, for she remembers her mother sewing camphor packets for her children to wear around their necks during the “Spanish flu” of 1918.
Edith is a modest and humble person. When asked what her secret is to longevity, she quickly chalks it up to “dumb luck” since her parents only lived into their seventies. However, most of her siblings lived to be older than ninety and one of her brothers even made it to 104. Those who know her will attest to her delightful personality and healthy approach to life, especially regular exercise and eating moderately. Her memory, vision and hearing are astounding. She was only in a wheelchair briefly after gall bladder surgery at age 103!
Spending time with Edith, and listening to her wonderful stories, one quickly realizes that her outlook on life has a lot to do with how she handles the tough times and appreciates the good times. I first met Edith when she was a spry 95 year old. My mother lived in Winchester Gardens, down the hall from Edith’s sister Pearl. Then Edith moved in and my mom became friends with her, too. Towards the end of my mom’s life when she had developed dementia, Edith lovingly attended to her and was a strong support during this painful time. After my mom’s passing, a beautiful friendship grew quickly between us, as though our 40 year age difference was no obstacle at all.
Edith has had many passions throughout her amazing life including playing bridge, cooking, knitting and needlepoint, reading, playing tennis, talent for interior design, and fond memories of a wonderful marriage of almost 65 years to Joe. She lights up any room she enters, looking gorgeous and connecting to the best side of people with her radiant smile.