HOWLAND - At 100, Annie Weltman said she still does yoga for her health - and for the health of others - and that may be the secret to her longevity. Weltman taught yoga for 35 years both locally and in Florida.
Her daughter, Judy Kay of Howland, also teaches yoga and said it was her mother who encouraged her to do yoga.
Weltman was just one of seven residents of Shepherd of the Valley in Howland nursing home and independent living who this year mark milestone birthdays of 100 or more. The centenarians are Myra Abell, 104, Grace Taranto, 103, Patrick Scott, 101, and Carrie Hoover, Helen Kamp, Janet Thomas and Weltman, all 100.
Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland
Applause is given to Myra Abell, a resident of Shepherd of the Valley in Howland, for her being 104 years old and the oldest resident at the nursing home care facility. Abell and six other residents were honored recently for all being age 100 or older. With her is her son, Jim Abell.
Five residents are getting close. Heading for 100 are George Craig, 99, Helen Scott, 99, and Walter Reed, Sylvia Moyes and Victor Burick, all 98.
Their combined ages total 1,200 years.
A big outdoor birthday party, ''The Golden Memories Recognition,'' was held this month on the Shepherd of the Valley patio and included cake, a large gift box, refreshments and music by the Jim Frank Trio.
Amber Conley, activity assistant, said the center wanted to get all the residents who are 100 or older, plus those within two years of 100, for a big birthday bash.
"It's a pretty amazing group we have here," she said.
Abell is set to celebrate her 105th birthday on Nov. 12. She said she has always been a walker and is blessed with good genes, with both parents living into their 90s.
Abell retired from Warren-Trumbull County Library as a librarian.
With her at the celebration was her son, Bill.
Taranto, who came to the United States from Sicily when she was a young girl, is the second-oldest of the group. She is the oldest of six children. Taranto's mother lived into her 90s.
Weltman, who turned 100 on March 7, earlier this year shared her scouting memories with local Girl Scouts, which also marked 100 years.
''How great it is to have such a special reason for such an event. To be 100 years old is a rare accomplishment. We are not celebrating one birthday today, but 12," Conley said.
As each residents' name was read, she or he stood, if able, to a round of applause.
Tamara Salvino, associate director, said, "We have a lot of residents, their friends here celebrating with them, as well as their family. We're just very honored and privileged to take care of these residents and to be able to celebrate these special days with them."
Salvino said six of those recognized on the special occasion continue to live independently in the condos, including a long-married couple, Patrick and Helen Scott.