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Willsboro native celebrates 100 years (with photo gallery)

Attributes hard work to living healthy 100

Della Garvey sits with Barbara and Paige Garvey during Della's 100th birthday celebration at the Horace Nye Nursing Home Oct. 7.

Della Garvey sits with Barbara and Paige Garvey during Della's 100th birthday celebration at the Horace Nye Nursing Home Oct. 7. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Della Strong Garvey celebrated a healthy 100th birthday with family, friends, staff and patients at the Horace Nye Retirement home on Friday, Oct. 7.

Della, of Willsboro, was surprised by friends and family in the banquet hall of the retirement home with a party to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Wearing a birthday cake-fashioned party hat and looking vibrant in a purple pant suit and a beautiful corsage given to her by family, Della was happy to see five generations of Garvey come together for her birthday party that almost wasn’t able to take place.

“She was really excited to see everyone, the party had to sort of be a surprise because we didnt know if the party would be able to go on due to a three-day quarantine at the home because of a stomach bug,” Sharon Garvey, Della’s daughter-in-law, said.

But nothing was going to stand in the way of Della’s 100th birthday. After raising five children on her family dairy farm, outliving her husband Rollin of 68 years, and her son Micheal, watching 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren grow up, Della remains a strong and healthy woman.

“Della walks with a walker and has a little trouble hearing but her mind is strong, she remembers everything and still keeps us on our toes,” Sharon said.

Della said her secret to a healthy 100 is, “Working hard, hard working, no smoking and no drinking.”

Della was born in Willsboro on Oct. 7, 1911. She and her husband Rollin were married for 68 years, raised five children on their family farm. Della is regarded as having a “green thumb,” always taking care of the family garden and growing beautiful house plants at the farm.

The family dairy farm, Garvey Farm, was awarded the Century Farm award by New York State agricultural Society in 1997. Garvey farm is now operated by Della and Rollin’s grandson, Lee Garvey.

The party was attended by Della’s four surviving children, 16 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, and Penelope the Clown. Penelope presented Della with a rose balloon and entertained party guests by making many balloon animals and performed magic tricks for Della’s grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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