Legacy Senior Living Recognizes Residents Celebrating 100th Birthday in Communities across the Southeast

Honoring rich lives spent building businesses, serving our country, starting family traditions and more, Legacy Senior Living celebrates residents who have reached a centennial milestone.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (December 5, 2020) – To honor their residents who have spent their lives contributing to the growth and success of their families, communities and nation, Legacy Senior Living, a family of senior living communities throughout the Southeast, is dedicated to telling the stories of love and life passed down by their residents who have celebrated over 100 birthdays.

“Especially as the year 2020 has thrown new challenges our way, we are turning to some of our residents who have lived full, enriching lives for advice and inspiration on topics like relationships, serving your country in the military, and yes, even pandemics,” said Bryan Cook, Founder and President of Legacy Senior Living. “We are immensely grateful to them for letting us share in their struggles, their celebrations, and all of life’s moments that have shaped them into who they are over their 100-plus years,” he added.

The seven centenarians being celebrated are:

  • Sylvia Lee at Concordia Retirement Center, Bella Vista, Ark.
  • Lorene Louk at Concordia Retirement Center, Bella Vista, Ark.
  • Pearl Collins at Legacy Village at Park Regency, Moultrie, Ga.
  • Sally Groom at Renaissance Senior Living of Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Bill Exton at Renaissance Senior Living of Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Anthony “Jack” Giacalone at Renaissance Senior Living of Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Janet McClendon at Legacy Village at Plantation Manor, Thomasville, Ga.

Of these seven centenarians, two vividly recall the effects of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

Anthony “Jack” Giacolane was born at the height of the pandemic and lost three precious family members to the virus -- his mother, a brother and a sister.

Sally Groom’s father, who was a bank architect in Chicago, moved the family to Kansas City after the devastating effects of the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Great Depression.

The pandemic wasn’t the only thing these seniors endured. Many served overseas in World War II or were forced to wait patiently for letters or news of their loved ones who were serving.

After surviving both the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression, Sally Groom went on to marry her husband, a medic, in 1944. Immediately following their wedding, he left to serve on the beaches of Normandy -- one of three trips to the infamous beaches in northern France.

Although war and survival were constant companions throughout these seniors’ young lives, they showed strength and resilience in the face of adversity and went on to cultivate successful careers and talents.

Bill Exton, or “The Boss,” as he is affectionately known by his fellow residents, had a 40-year career as an art teacher. With a lifelong love of the arts, he still spends his free time painting or listening to the classical greats like Chopin.

Of all the accomplishments these seniors have achieved, they have one thing in common when asked about what they are proudest: their children.

Sylvia Lee remembers: “The best season of life, hands down, is the time when you’re raising children,” said the mother to three boys.

Lorene Louk looks back on the 1940s as her favorite decade because, “I was married, the war ended, and my two children were born.” 

When asked about the secret to a long, happy life, many of these wise centenarians offered surprisingly simple advice. 

“Take a walk every day,” said Pearl Collins, whose favorite activity is walking around the grounds of her beautiful community with her daughter. 

“Eat breakfast,” said Sylvia Lee, who is no stranger to early mornings, as her job was to milk the cows on the farm where she grew up. 

“Celebrate life’s big moments,” said Janet McClendon, whose daughter decorated the walls of Mrs. McClendon’s bedroom with 100 pink paper roses to mark the occasion of her centennial birthday.

Lorene Louk admitted that she has no secret for longevity, saying, “I just take things as they come.”

“The work, the sacrifice, and the love that these seniors have put into their communities can still be seen today. We see it in the family members smiling through an iPhone screen, through the local veterans reaching out to us about honoring our residents on Veterans Day,” said Barry Ray, Founder and CEO of Legacy Senior Living. “They have lived extraordinary lives, and our mission here is to celebrate all the things -- big and small -- that they have achieved.”

About Legacy Senior Living

Legacy Senior Living operates a family of senior living communities throughout the Southeast specializing in independent living, assisted living or Alzheimer’s care services. Headquartered in Cleveland, Tenn., the company is committed to serving the ‘Greatest Generation of Americans’ with honor, respect, faith and integrity.

More information is available at legacysl.net or by calling (423) 478-8071.

PHOTO CAPTION 1: Legacy Senior Living is celebrating its centenarian residents by telling the stories of seniors like Sally Groom, who has lived through the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and World War II.

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About Legacy Senior Living - Cleveland, TN

About Legacy Senior Living

Legacy Senior Living operates a family of senior living communities throughout the eastern United States specializing in independent living, assisted living or Alzheimer’s care services. Headquartered in Cleveland, Tenn., the company is committed to serving the ‘Greatest Generation of Americans’ with honor, respect, faith and integrity. More information is available at legacysl.net or by calling (423) 478-8071.

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