Three women celebrate 100th birthdays at Honey Brook retirement community

On Valentine’s Day, Lou Lou Woodland, Annetta Dowlin and Rhoda Fiore, all residents of Heatherwood Retirement Community in Honey Brook, gathered for lunch to celebrate their 100th birthdays.
On Valentine’s Day, Lou Lou Woodland, Annetta Dowlin and Rhoda Fiore, all residents of Heatherwood Retirement Community in Honey Brook, gathered for lunch to celebrate their 100th birthdays. Carol Quaintance — Digital First Media
Lou Lou Woodland and Rhoda Fiore, both 100, enjoy conversation over lunch.
Lou Lou Woodland and Rhoda Fiore, both 100, enjoy conversation over lunch. Carol Quaintance — Digital First Media

Three women at Heatherwood Retirement Community in Honey Brook celebrated their 100th birthdays.

On Valentine’s Day, Lou Lou Woodland, Annetta Dowlin and Rhoda Fiore, all centenarians, gathered for lunch.

The three had similar yet different stories of what life has been like living for 100 years.

All three have their own apartments in the retirement community and possess the remarkable spunk to keep their independence.

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Annetta Dowlin, formerly of Coatesville, celebrated her 100th birthday on Nov. 27, 2016. She has been a resident for about two years.

“I have always been healthy. I grew up on a dairy farm and worked as a waitress and in 5 and 10 cent stores growing up. We were depression kids. I had one older brother,” said Dowlin.

Her husband Robert served in World War II and they had one son, Robert Dowlin Jr. A Methodist, she said she prays every day.

“I remember going to the movies for 25 cents. My favorite was ‘Gone with the Wind’ with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh,” she said.

Lou Lou Woodland was joined by her cousin Marty Loomis and Rusty from Bradenton, Fla. and her niece Joanne Miller of Exton. She will celebrate her 100th birthday on April 11.

“What kept me going was I never turn anyone down. When someone invites you out, go!” said Woodland.

Still true to her word, once a week she goes to the Village Library card club in Morgantown with friends who pick her up, and also the 3rd week of every month to a friend’s home to play cards.

She was born and raised in Chester County one of eight children. She later moved with her husband Vance to Nantmeal. Her husband also served in World War II and she worked as a waitress at Pottstown’s Hill School.

“I am a member of United Methodist Church in Nantmeal and trust in the Lord. I pray every day,” she said.

She drove a car until she was in her 90s and moved to Heatherwood eight years ago. She is blessed with lots of family and three main caregivers, Jill Shank, Louise Fadies and Joanne Miller.

Rhoda Fiore recently celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 11, 2017.

“My family took me for dinner at the mall for my birthday. Everybody was calling me a celebrity! The word spread and workers and servers from all over the mall were coming in to say Happy Birthday. Oh, and Saturday evening they had a really big sheet cake here in the dining room for me,” said Fiore.

She grew up in New Jersey and attended Eagle Rock School, then married her husband Robert and had two children, Robert Jr. and Deborah and a granddaughter Mellissa.

Also, her husband was missing in action while serving in World War II. He came home but died an untimely death leaving her a widow raising her children alone.

She moved to West Orange, N.J., the home of Thomas Edison who invented the electric light who died in 1931 leaving a very progressive town where Fiore worked at AT & T making electric components and codes.

She said, “Age makes it hard to fit in, you lose your friends and home. When I was a little girl my mother walked me to school and when she left I turned around and followed her.”

“Everyone is very nice here. One of the servers always asks me to give her a hug. We have nice apartments and good food,” said the talkative and lively Fiore.

The group reminisced about growing up with kerosene lamps, horse and buggies, no TV and lucky to have radios.

Cell phones, no one knows how to use one, but they remembered the advent of the telephone, going to a neighbors to use one and having party lines and player pianos.

Jeannette Hacker Lifestyle Service Director and Vanessa Sheidy Sales and Marketing Director keep the residents busy with weekly events at Heatherwood Retirement Community that is a home to a thriving network of active seniors and professional associates.

The three centenarians reside there living full lives in a relaxing setting in the beautiful countryside of Honey Brook.