Centenarian’s Celebrated

Joseph Cunningham is all smiles as he hugs 105-year old Rose Paladino. Both were celebrated for reaching the age of 100 at the Saint Patrick’s Home for the Aged in Van Cortlandt. And while Mr. Cunningham shares the distinct pleasure of being the only man on the list of ten, Ms. Paladino holds the title of the oldest woman on the list.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Joseph Cunningham has lived on this earth for a century.

Reaching that 100-year milestone is what earned him a place at Tuesday’s recognition ceremony at St. Patrick’s Home for the Aged and Infirm in Van Cortlandt.

Adding more his anomalous state is he is the only man on the distinguinshed list.

“I see a lot of happy widows at this home,” Cunningham said.

A resident at the home, Cunnigham joined nine others who’ve crossed into and beyond the centennial mark.

But he’s a teen compared to one home resident who’s reached 105 years old.

It’s a feat Cunningham is quite happy yet relieved to only do once, thank you very much.

“I wouldn’t want to redo my life again,” laughed Cunningham, a former electrician who’s managed to maintain a spriteful outlook on life.

Cunningham is familiar with the home after checking in his wife of 63 years, Rose, 95.

“She’s the reason why I’m still alive,” said Cunningham with a touch of his lingering Irish accent.

The pair met while in church during the late 1930s, he said.

Rose had asked Cunningham for some money to give during the offering.

“She’s been asking me for money ever since,” Cunningham joked.

Like his fellow centenarians, Cunningham has learned a few life lessons. Like a nagging parent, he’s passed along what he’s learned to his five kids and 14 grandchildren.

“If you do something, admit it right away,” advised Cunningham. “You won’t be able to get a good night’s rest.”

He also wishes young people today had “common sense” and steered away from getting body piercings.

“The piercings make you look like a pin cushion,” said Cunningham.

But through it all, Cunningham’s main creed he espouses to anyone who’ll listen is to follow the advice of your parents.

Janet Kilbassa, director of recreation therapy at the home organized the ceremony, now in its ninth year.

She advised there’s plenty to learn from geriatrics like Cunningham.

“They all have a wealth of knowledge,,” said Kilbassa. “They’re not afraid to say what they feel.”

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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