New centenarian celebrates with positive, grateful attitude


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Jean White turned 100 on March 7

Jennifer H. Monaghan

Jean White celebrated her 100th birthday March 7. What a glorious celebration it was!

White reveled in the aura of the “amazing” surprise party hosted by her family, who flew in from Texas and Pennsylvania. Her local friends lavished her with lunches, floral bouquets and unexpected gifts.

“It was fantastic,” she said beaming.

White acknowledged that she was overwhelmed by the overflow of love and attention. Nonetheless, she appreciated that her experiences, memories, family, friends and community were honored.

“I’ve had a wonderful life,” White said. “It wasn’t all peaches and cream, but it was good, and it is good.”

It is not uncommon for someone living past age 90 to receive queries as to the reason for their longevity, or their own contemplation.

“I have no idea why I lived this long,” she said. “For the past couple of years, whenever anybody asked me, I say, I just keep reading. The library is one of my favorite places. At one point, I read a book a week, but now less.”

Her friends would probably say White’s long life is partly due to her lifestyle, in particular her rich social interactions.

Patti Rinabarger remarked: “I find Jean very interesting to talk to on a variety of topics and have the utmost admiration for her attitude to old age.”

An avid bridge player for more than 70 years, White plays duplicate bridge five times a week and takes her turn hosting two-table games at her home.

“I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t play bridge,” she said.

A regular at her community pool during the summer, White participates in a 40-minute water exercise class on weekdays.

A fervent church member and Brevard County resident for more than 25 years, White has lived alone since her husband of 72 years died five years ago. With the assistance of her son, who lives in Palm Bay, White maintains her independent lifestyle.

In a world that is “different” than yesteryear, White remains active, positive and grateful for her “blessings.”