It’s getting a little crowded in the over-100 club.
Max Berger and Mavis Davidson were among 30 residents honored last week for marking their 90-plus birthdays at the Center Light Health Systems Wallerstein facility. Berger celebrated turning 106 years young, while Davidson celebrated reaching 105 years of life with cake, family, friends, and dancing on Fri. March 15 at the facility on White Plains Road. The two oldest residents there were named outstanding citizens and given proclaimations by Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.
Born in Richmond, Hanover, Jamaica on February 20 1909, Davidson has been a Center Light resident for 17 years.
Davidson moved to the Bronx in 1928, at the age of 19, where she opened a grocery store and married husband Isaac.
The 105-year-old raised four children and watched eight grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren grow up. Davidson’s husband is now deceased.
Grandville Davidson, Mavis’s second youngest son, said he wishes he knew his mother’s secret to a long life.
“I think she would probably say it was her faith,” Davidson said of his mother, who has trouble hearing and speaking due to her age.
“She has very strong will power and a very strong memory. She knows what she wants,” Grandville said. “I would say it is in our genes. Her father lived a very long life as well.”
Berger was born on February 24, 1907 in Czechoslovakia, one of one of six children, with two brothers and three sisters. Berger and his sister Ella, 95, who lives in Miami, Florida, are the only two siblings still living.
Berger served in the Czechoslovakia/Hungarian Army, and it was during that time that he met his wife, Marilyn Neuman, while she was living in Prague. They married in 1934.
Shortly after, they joined Berger’s mother, already living in the U.S.
Berger and his wife moved into an apartment building on Olinville Avenue.
They raised two children—Melivin and Joseph—and have two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Berger and his wife were married for over 50 years, before she passed away in 1996.
Berger’s son Max said he thinks his father’s long life and good fortune may just be a “roll of the dice.”
“If I knew what his secret was, I would tell you,” said the son, speaking for his father. “He has no vices. He never drank or smoked, he keeps his weight low. Stress doesn’t play a very large role in his life.”
Berger said he dad likes watching baseball—the Yankees— and occasionally soccer. “I think he was just blessed with longevity,” Berger said. “I think it’s being surrounded by people you love that has kept him going this long.”
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394