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Chicago retirement home fetes 7 centenarians

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – It was a sevenfold celebration this weekend at a retirement home on Chicago’s far south side.

The Smith Village retirement community held a party Sunday to mark the birthdays of seven residents who turned 100 or older during the past year.

The seven centenarians have a combined age of 713, according to the Southtown Star. The group celebrated Sunday with a seven-layer cake.

All seven offered different reasons for their longevity. John Stanis, 103, said he spends at least 30 minutes a day working out.

Meanwhile, 105-year-old Ann McGowan is a regular bingo player.

“She likes to be involved in everything,” said Emily Eisinas, life enrichment director at the facility. “People here count on her opinions and ideas.”

Gertrude Norby, 100, says she thinks her German heritage helped, along with a nightly martini.

Norby is a former dancer who performed – Rockette-style – during intermission at movie houses. In high school, she was in an opera club.

These days, she uses a wheelchair and suffers from macular degeneration, which affects her eyesight.

“Other than that, everything is good,” she said.

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