Chabot celebrates 100th birthday


Rita Chabot enjoyed cake, candles and fellowship during her 100th birthday party at Town Square in Viera.

Photo Julie Sturgeon

Rita Chabot celebrated her 100th birthday Oct. 14 at Town Square in Viera.  

Surrounded by fresh flowers, balloons and a colorful floral cake, Chabot was joined by her daughter, son-in-law and several dozen Town Square friends.

During the Hawaiian-themed birthday party, attendees were challenged with trivia questions on wages earnings, gas prices and common grocery items from the early 1920s. A loaf of bread was 7 cents, and a quart of milk was 9 cents.

Chabot’s answers were within pennies of being correct, reflective of her still-intact memory.

“She remembers everything,” daughter Jackie Gulla said.

After the trivia game, guests enjoyed cake and conversation to the tunes of Glenn Miller.  Chabot loves Barbra Streisand’s music as well.

“I didn’t know they were going to have all of this,” Chabot said, gesturing sweetly toward the elegant display around her.

Chabot’s memory and conversational style is impressive, perhaps in part because she has lived such an active life. She remains active and enjoys each day.

The centenarian’s first job was stringing tennis racquets, for which she earned 27 cents an hour.

In 1938, Chabot married Arthur Chabot and the couple enjoyed traveling in the United States and Europe.  Her daughter, Jackie, was born several years after the Chabots’ marriage.

After being a stay-at-home mom during Jackie’s pre-high school years, Chabot worked as a buyer for an upscale boutique.  Later, during the 1990s, Chabot volunteered at the Ascension Thrift store in Melbourne.

Chabot also was an avid swimmer and golfer.  She played golf up until the age of 82, she said, joining her daughter and son-in-law, John Gulla, on the course.

Nowadays, Chabot enjoys painting and crafts.  She keeps her mind sharp by playing games such as Upwords, Scrabble and Rummikub with friends and family.

“My favorite game is Rummikub,” Chabot said.  Rummikub is a tile-based number game for two to four players.

Chabot’s family includes two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is very close to all five.

Town Square staff made sure the event was extra special for Chabot, treating her like family. Town Square is an assisted living facility off Murrell Road in Viera. SL