HOWLAND - Grace Taranto of Shepherd of the Valley in Howland recently celebrated her 102nd birthday with family and friends on Aug. 15.
Taranto who was born Aug. 15, 1908 in Sicily came to the United States when she was 11, began working at Republic Steel when she was a teenager retiring after 30 years, and has survived cancer twice. She also recovered from a broken hip.
Taranto had one son, Frank, five grandchildren, and seven great-great grandchildren.
Family members said she has been very family-oriented.
Taranto is the oldest of six children, two sisters and three brothers, some of whom attended her party.
Family members said Taranto makes the best spaghetti and meatballs.
She has been a resident of Shepherd of the Valley for six years and enjoys sitting on her balcony watching people and the traffic.
Longevity is in Taranto's family with her mother living to age 94.
She also speaks Italian fluently in addition to English.
A surprise party was held in her honor at Shepherd of the Valley with music provided by Austi Music.