Brookdale resident celebrates 100 years

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Betty Leo read the multitude of birthday cards sent to her August 14 to celebrate her 100th birthday.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The members of the Brookdale Senior Living facility staff bought a cake for residents to celebrate Betty Leo's 100th birthday.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.An array of birthday cards sent in to Betty Leo to celebrate her 100th birthday were on display during her party August 14.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.A display of libraray books from Betty's collection celebrating her decades as a childrens librarian were put up at her 100th birthday party August 14.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Elizabeth Ellis, Betty Leo and Sarah Ellis attended the party hosted by Brookdale Senior Living on Aug. 14 for Betty's 100th birthday.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.These old photos show Betty Leo was a young girl, one picture with her and one of her three brothers. These photos were on display during Betty's 100th birthday party August 14 at Brookdale Senior Living.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Dave Propri sung Tony Bennett songs to Betty Leo for her 100th birthday party as Betty sung along with him.


Brookdale Senior Living resident Elizabeth “Betty” Leo turned 100-years-old on Aug. 14.

The day was celebrated by the residents of Brookdale with a party, including cake and entertainment.

Betty worked as a librarian for 70 years in Edgewater New Jersey.

She is described by her niece, Elizabeth Ellis, and great niece, Sarah Ellis, as independent and out spoken.

Betty worked as a children’s librarian since she was 16-years-old.

“She did fantastic summer reading programs and classes that came in,” Elizabeth said. “She always had special displays in the library and the kids loved to come see what she did this month.”

She loved her work so much that in 2004, when she was 86-years-old, the library had to buy her out of her position so that she would retire.

“She was willing to stay until she was 200, I guess,” Elizabeth said, with a laugh. “So they actually gave her money to leave.”

Elizabeth said that her points of pride were always the programs she created at the library and the way she kept her home.

“She had two guinea pigs, Dewey and Decimal, that she kept at the library for the kids,” Sarah said, “She really loved what she did.”

Betty was married for 25 years, but never had any children, according to Elizabeth.

This, and the fact that she walked every day, were the two things that Sarah attributes to her long and healthy life.

Elizabeth said that Betty lived in her house until a year ago, when she was 99.

She said that Betty loved to travel, having gone to a multitude of countries including Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary and more.

“She rode a camel in Egypt when she was in her 80’s,” Sarah said. “She loved to get out and go.”

Having lived in Edgewater her whole life, Betty was able to go across the water to New York City a lot according to Sarah.

There she and her friends would attend shows, go to dinner and go shopping, which according to Sarah was one of her favorite things to do.

“She loves her purses, shoes, clothes, just all of that,” Sarah said.

She was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, but according to Vanessa Montgomery, the program coordinator at Brookdale, it never gets her down.

“What makes her special is that she is the one who will tell you just how it is,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said that Betty is a major flirt at the home, always grabbing at the men and making jokes.

“Any guy that goes by she’ll grab them and say ‘hey good looking,’” Montgomery said. “She still knows a good looking man when she sees one and she’s not afraid to tell them.”

To celebrate her birthday, residents of Brookdale were treated to the a singing performance by Dave Propri.

Propri is a regular guest at Brookdale, and did a special show for the residents of Tony Bennett songs, since he is Betty’s favorite musician.

During the performance, Betty sang along to the songs as Propri performed them.

Betty also received a birthday present from the city of Edgewater.

The mayor of the city, Michael J. McPartland, sent Betty a letter thanking her for her life time of service to the city and its people.

As a present, McPartland named Aug. 14, 2018 Elizabeth Leo day in Edgewater, to honor Betty.

“She’s lived a wonderful life, she truly has,” Elizabeth said.