Wesley Village in Jenkins Township honors nine centenarians


By Mary Therese Biebel - [email protected]



Edwin Davies, 105, a resident of Wesley Village, enjoys watching people dance during the annual birthday party for people 100 years of age and older Sept. 9 at Wesley Village in Jenkins Township.


Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

Residents of Wesley Village who are 100 years or older were treated to a birthday party Sept. 9. Seated at the table are, from left, Dorothy Zalinski, Ronald Rogers, Edwin Davies, Mildred Kilgallon, Martha Thomas, Mary Chebalo, Elizabeth Bray and Ann Salus.


Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

The birthday cake was about to be cut and served to party attendees at Wesley Village.


Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

‘Just be pleasant,’ Ann Salus said, giving advice to younger people on how to achieve the century mark. She will turn 100 in October.


Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

Loretta Chmura, an employee at Wesley Village, and Dorothy Sarnick, whose mother, Olga, lives at Wesley Village, dance a polka during the recent birthday party.


Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch


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    JENKINS TWP. — He was 105, in a wheelchair, clapping his hands and pumping his arms in time to the music.

    She was a generation younger, on her feet, her heart still beating fast from the polka that had just finished.

    Their eyes met. They pointed toward each other, acknowledging a connection, and even though there was a table between them, and he was sitting while she was standing, Edwin Davies and Dorothy Sarnick shared a dance.

    That was just one of the poignant moments that took place Sept. 9 during a birthday celebration for nine residents of Wesley Village’s Partridge-Tippett Nursing Facility who are age 100 and older.

    “I try to have this party every September,” activities director Tami Chesniak said after distributing cake to the guests of honor, about 80 other residents, friends and relatives.

    Vocalists Diane and Vernon Jones from the Pittston-based band Windfall were prepared with appropriate music from the birthday celebrants’ youth, songs such as “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” and “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?”

    “This one was written in 1916,” Diane Jones said before launching into “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

    By the time the singers had worked their way into hits from the 1950s, party guests were proving they remembered lyrics.

    Vernon Jones started them out with “I found my …”

    “THRILL!” the crowd sang out. “On BLUEBERRY HILL.”

    “Who said ‘strawberry?’” Jones teased.

    During brief conversations between the songs, some of the day’s honorees talked about seeing the events of a century or more.

    Which had been the best year?

    “Whenever you’re loved,” said Ann Salus, a retired hairdresser who anticipates her 100th birthday in October.

    What should a younger person do to try to live that long?

    “Just be pleasant,” Salus said.

    As the music continued during the hour-long party, several Wesley Village staffers and a resident or two danced a bit, especially when Windfall started a polka.

    While Vernon and Diane Jones led a chorus of “E-I-E-I-E-I-O,” Wesley Village employee Loretta Chmura hit the dance floor with visitor Dorothy Sarnick, of Plains, whose mother, Olga Pieck, lives at the facility.

    After the polka, Sarnick, who had noticed the animated expression on Davies’ face as he watched the fancy footwork, just couldn’t sit down.

    She didn’t know him, she said later. “But I couldn’t stop dancing. He just looked so happy.”

    More fun was yet to come, as Windfall invited guests to participate in “wheelchair limbo,” which took place under a limbo stick. Then they reminisced about cowboys and cowgirls, and finally, led a rendition of “Happy Trails to You … Until We Meet Again.”

    Birthday celebrants included Elizabeth Bray, who maneuvered her wheelchair from the birthday table up to the band so she could shake hands with the singers and thank them for coming; and Mary Chebalo, Edwin Davies, Mildred Kilgallon, Mary Krill, Ronald Rogers, Martha Thomas, Dorothy Zalenski and Ann Salus.

    Edwin Davies, 105, a resident of Wesley Village, enjoys watching people dance during the annual birthday party for people 100 years of age and older Sept. 9 at Wesley Village in Jenkins Township.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_century1.jpgEdwin Davies, 105, a resident of Wesley Village, enjoys watching people dance during the annual birthday party for people 100 years of age and older Sept. 9 at Wesley Village in Jenkins Township. Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

    Residents of Wesley Village who are 100 years or older were treated to a birthday party Sept. 9. Seated at the table are, from left, Dorothy Zalinski, Ronald Rogers, Edwin Davies, Mildred Kilgallon, Martha Thomas, Mary Chebalo, Elizabeth Bray and Ann Salus.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_century2.jpgResidents of Wesley Village who are 100 years or older were treated to a birthday party Sept. 9. Seated at the table are, from left, Dorothy Zalinski, Ronald Rogers, Edwin Davies, Mildred Kilgallon, Martha Thomas, Mary Chebalo, Elizabeth Bray and Ann Salus. Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

    The birthday cake was about to be cut and served to party attendees at Wesley Village.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_century3.jpgThe birthday cake was about to be cut and served to party attendees at Wesley Village. Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

    ‘Just be pleasant,’ Ann Salus said, giving advice to younger people on how to achieve the century mark. She will turn 100 in October.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_century4.jpg‘Just be pleasant,’ Ann Salus said, giving advice to younger people on how to achieve the century mark. She will turn 100 in October. Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

    Loretta Chmura, an employee at Wesley Village, and Dorothy Sarnick, whose mother, Olga, lives at Wesley Village, dance a polka during the recent birthday party.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_century5.jpgLoretta Chmura, an employee at Wesley Village, and Dorothy Sarnick, whose mother, Olga, lives at Wesley Village, dance a polka during the recent birthday party. Clark Van Orden | For Sunday Dispatch

    By Mary Therese Biebel

    [email protected]

    Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

    Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

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