March 25, 2010

USA: 106 years of clean living

. PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts / The Berkshire Eagle / March 25, 2010 106 years of clean living One of the oldest Berkshire residents receives birthday wishes By Berkshire Eagle Staff DALTON -- Mildred Daly, a lifelong Berkshire County resident, loved traveling around the world. "Millie," as she's affectionately known, thoroughly enjoyed her overseas trips well into her mid-90s. "My home has always been Pittsfield, but I've been to Europe, Ireland, Scotland," said Daly. She continued, "I even rode a camel in Egypt" -- but cautioned everyone by adding -- "but don't try it." Daly regaled about her adventures during a day-long celebration of her 106th birthday on Wednesday at Craneville Place in Dalton, where she's been a resident of the nursing home since 2005. She received a steady stream of well-wishers, several of whom brought vases filled with daffodils, iris, tulips and other spring flowers. Mildred Daly had a steady stream of wellwishers Wednesday to celebrate her 106th birthday. (Caroline Bonnivier Snyder / Berkshire Eagle Staff) "I have so many, I think I'll go on the corner and sell them," quipped Daly. Born Mildred McNeil on March 25, 1904, Daly is one of three children and one of the oldest living county residents. Bernice Madigan of Cheshire is 110 years and 243 days old today -- the oldest living Massachusetts resident and 54th in the world, according to the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group, which tracks supercentenarians. Daly's sister Marilyn Conklin, 89, lives in Florida, while her brother Bert McNeil passed away at 60. Daly was married to the late Charles Daly for 48 years and the couple raised two daughters. In addition, Daly has nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren. Family members said Daly was a pioneer among local women in her early years, working in several local mills while being a mother and wife. She was also among the first Americans to receive a Social Security card. And "Millie" ran the household. "Whatever she said, my father went along with her," said daughter, Mildred French of Pittsfield. "He never argued with her." French noted her mother often cited clean living -- no drinking and no smoking -- as Daly's secret for longevity. Despite being confined to her nursing home bed, the family matriarch is still in charge. "She's still alert and feisty after all these years," said granddaughter Debbie Estes, the director of nursing at Craneville Place. Daly also keeps the Craneville staff on their toes and in the know. "She knows more about what's going on the nursing home than we do," added Susan Demary-Kellor, the facility's recreation director. [rc] © Copyright 2010 Media News group