LONGMEADOW – On Aug. 21, four residents of JGS Lifecare – all over the age of 100 — were feted with a special birthday celebration that included family, friends, staff, community members and of course, plenty of cake.
Anna Smith celebrated her 104th birthday on Aug. 11. A long-time resident of Springfield, she and her husband Sam had two children and owned a shoe store on the corner of State and Main streets. Smith has always loved to dance and said she credits advice from her parents, “to be good and to do good” with her longevity.
Fausto Zabeni celebrated his 100th birthday on Aug. 21. He served in the U.S. Army’s 104th Infantry Division and worked many jobs locally including stints at the State Auditor’s Office and Indian Motorcycle. Formerly an avid golfer, he attributes his longevity to “good luck.”
Dr. Joseph Leal will celebrate his 100th birthday on Sept. 14. A veteran of the Chemical Warfare Division, he received his Ph.D. in chemistry at Indiana University in 1953, and worked for a time in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. before settling in western Massachusetts. Born in New Bedford, Leal married in 1944 and has four children.
Emma DeZalia will celebrate her 104th birthday on Oct. 29. Raised in East Longmeadow, she attended Commerce High School and worked for a time at MassMutual before raising two sons, Peter and Paul. She attributes her longevity to her “very supportive family and a caring, loving husband.”
During the celebration, Zabeni and Leal received commemorative pins for their service from Lena Vellturo, Veterans’ Services Officer for the Town of Longmeadow. Smith, Zabeni, Leal and DeZalia all received special citations from Rep. Brian M. Ashe and Joel McAuliffe, district director for Sen. Eric Lesser. Thomas Lachiusa from the Town of Longmeadow Select Board also attended.