Generations gather to celebrate 104th birthday!
Article by Kathy Dunker; photo by Tim Gamble
“Eat chocolate every day, maintain a positive attitude and always keep your sense of humor!” Words to live by? Yes, and they seem to be working for Mary Cole, mother of Castle Pines resident, Toby Cole, from Topaz Vista. Mary Cole celebrated her birthday with a brunch at The Ridge on April 8, and quite remarkably it was her 104th birthday!
Cole lives in an independent living facility called RiverPointe in Littleton and she is quite an icon there. With the average age at RiverPointe being 82, Cole is one of the oldest residents. Okay, she is THE oldest resident. The next in line to her are two or three seniors that are going on 99 years. Cole is very social, wonderful company, and never lets life get her down.
Born in 1908, Cole was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she remained the great majority of her life. The middle child of three girls, Cole worked all of her life as a machinist and a leather manufacturer in Los Angeles. Cole has her son, Toby, and a son who passed away in 2001. She was married to Claude Cole for 63 years, when he died 16 years ago. Cole has six grandchildren and ten great grandchildren, most of whom live in the south and on the east coast.
In 2005 Cole’s sister passed away and she had outlived all of her friends in Los Angeles when her son, Toby, insisted she move to Colorado to be closer to family. Toby also insisted that she sell her car. That’s right, at age 97, Cole was still driving and amazingly independent.
These days, Toby takes his mother shopping once a week to four or five stores where Cole gets in the automated cart and still does everything she needs to do on her own.
Since living in Colorado, Cole has made a lot of new friends. Cole always stays busy making beaded necklaces which she sells for $3 at RiverPointe and earrings that she sells for $1, she knits, and she decorates her apartment to the hilt at Christmas with lights and miniature villages. Cole always invites her neighbors up to enjoy her Christmas adornments.
Cole loves to laugh and gets quite a hoot out of “old people” jokes. One of her favorite quotes is by Billy Graham that he said about one of his parishoners, “What’s the greatest thing about turning 103? No peer pressure!”
Is Mary Cole becoming senile at the age of 104? “No!” says her son, Toby, “She is sharp as a tack, sharper than I am! She remembers everything both short and long term. Her fellow residents at RiverPointe all say they hope to be as sharp as her at age 100, much less 104!”