100 years young!
Just days after ringing in the yew year, the town of New Windsor celebrated another notable milestone. “At 100 years young, God bless you Marjorie,” said Rita Lundstrom, as she sang for Marjorie Gendreau at a birthday celebration held last Thursday.
The occasion was highlighted by music, flowers and a host of official proclamations.
“We hereby declare January 3 to be known as Marjorie Gendreau Day in the Town of Newburgh,” said Newburgh Town Clerk Andrew Zarutskie, as he handed her a certificate officially commemorating the day. Another certificate was presented to her on behalf of the town of New Windsor.
Gendreau’s birthday celebration took place at the New Windsor Country Inn, where she’s been a resident for almost 10 years. Serenaded by the “Silver Tones,” – a.k.a. the husband-and-wife musical team Rita and Eric Lundstrom — Gendreau sang along to tunes such as “Getting to Know You” and “As Time Goes By.”
“No one ever thinks they’ll live to be this age,” Gendreau said, chuckling.
In between songs, she shared her secret for living a long and happy life. “You have to be happy in yourself to make other people happy,” she said. “And do the best you can.”
Zena Taylor, activities director at the inn, described Gendreau as an avid music-lover who played bingo, enjoyed knitting, liked to paint and do crossword puzzles. “She’s her own woman,” she said. “She has a lot of spunk and she’s very family oriented.”
Born in New Windsor, Gendreau grew up in Cornwall. She served as president of the West Street School Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in the early 1950s, according to family members. At age 42, she was widowed when her husband William Sager passed away.
She had three teenage sons at the time, said son Dave Sager, 77. “She’s a strong woman,” he said. “She’s a warm, loving mother.”
Gendreau later went into real estate and eventually remarried. Her family has grown to include 10 grandchildren and more than 20 great-grandchildren. She is the first in her immediate family to live to 100, Sager said.
Daughter-in-law, Bernadette Sager said Gendreau received a surprise in the mail shortly after the party. “It was a letter from President Obama and his wife Michelle wishing her a happy birthday,” she said.
Gendreau was moved by the letter, she said. “She was surprised,” her daughter-in-law said. “It was very emotional.”
By SHANTAL PARRIS RILEY