Schenectady County man celebrates 100th birthday, shares laughs with 95 year-old wife | News
SCOTIA -- A great-great-grandfather from Schenectady County celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday, joined by his 95 year-old wife and generations of family members.
Fred and Evelyn Lanoue live at the Glendale Home on Hetcheltown Rd. Fred, donning a birthday cake-shaped hat for the party, laughed off his milestone with self-deprecating humor.
"Somebody told me I'm 100 but I don't know," Fred said. "I never looked in a mirror and said, 'You're one hundred years old, stupid.'"
Born August 8, 1913, Fred grew up on Heartt Ave. in Cohoes in a crowded house full of girls. His last surviving sibling, Madeleine Reiter, 94, recalled how they were forced to sleep in the same bed when they were young.
"He didn't want me in his bed," she said. "He used to hit me with the pillows. I'd hit him back."
Fred attended Christian Brothers Academy and thought about becoming a priest, but he decided to work for General Electric instead. He also served for many years as a volunteer firefighter in Rexford.
Fred met Evelyn in 1971 at a square dancing lesson in the basement of the Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church in Schenectady. By then, Fred had lost his first wife. Evelyn had lost her first husband. They were in their fifties and ready for a new adventure.
Before the night was over, Fred copied Evelyn's name and telephone number off of the sign-in sheet.
"That was sneaky," she said, "but I'm glad he did."
Fred and Evelyn have now been married for more than 40 years. Evelyn moved into the Glendale Home several years ago. Hitching a ride with a friend, Fred came to visit her every day before moving into the facility himself early this year.
"I get a laugh out of her all the time," Fred said.
Evelyn said she has always been drawn to her husband's sense of humor. Fred's daughter, Sandra Gortler, said that love of laughter may be part of the reason he's reached 100.
"I think that has kept him young," she said. "He has never been a grumpy old man. He's always been fun to be around."
Evelyn has also helped to keep Fred young. In a quiet moment, they held hands while viewing a poster board covered in old photographs. The spark they first experienced more than four decades ago was still there.
"I'm happy," Fred said with a smile.