Pickerington city officials and the residents and staff at Amber Park Assisted Living Community recently helped Nora Stewart celebrate her 101st birthday.

In the dining hall at Amber Park, Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray stood among tables adorned with balloons and a roomful of residents and staff as he declared Feb. 1, 2018, "Nora Stewart Day" in the city.

Stewart -- wearing a tiara and a broad smile -- was presented a proclamation recognizing the occasion.

"I feel real good," Stewart said.

When a news reporter suggested she had lived a long life, Stewart quickly cut him off.

"Not too long," she said. "No."

Within the 86-room Amber Park on Pickerington's south side live four centenarians, and staff at the facility said each of them are keeping on quite well after some 100 years.

But Stewart, a native of Noble County, and a former "Rosie the Riveter" during World War II, is the senior-most resident.

Stewart is quick to tell you she doesn't dwell on numbers.

When asked how it felt to celebrate this year's birthday, Stewart said, "You're kidding. I can't believe I'm 101."

The oldest of 10 children, Stewart was married to her husband, Albert Stewart, for 57 years. Mr. Stewart died in 1991.

The couple had two children, James and Joyce. James passed away at age 7 and Joyce lives in Pickerington.

Stewart belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star, was a Girl Scout leader and always enjoys a good euchre game.

She moved to Amber Park in 2012 to be near her daughter Joyce and the facility's staff said she's a thriving member of their community.

"(Nora) has always been a very pleasant resident," said Diana Pinkerman, Amber Park resident services coordinator. "She's always very kind, and from time to time she still plays euchre.

"She's still mobile. She scoots around on her wheelchair, and when she's ready to go somewhere, she goes."

In addition to eating and socializing with Amber Park friends each day, there's one routine Stewart makes an effort not to miss.

"She loves her coffee," Pinkerman said.

In addition to the mayor's commemoration Pinkerman said Amber Park staff wanted to have a fun celebration that recognized Nora's birthday but also helped highlight how people can age happily and gracefully with support.

"We celebrate aging in place here," Pinkerman said.

"We're celebrating that Nora's come here and has aged in place with us the last five years. We want to celebrate that."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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