Lifelong New Jersey resident and Yankee fan turns 100 years old

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:48

SPARTA — It’s going to take a lot more than three strikes to take out Leola Geddis. Born June 30, 1911, Geddis celebrated her 100th birthday June 27 at the Knoll View Senior Center in Sparta with more than 40 friends, family and residents of the Center. The secret to her longevity? “Perseverance,” said her son, Clark Geddis. “She has had arthritis for years, but she never complains about the pain.” “Entenmanns,” said her granddaughter Colleen Geddis. “We go to the food store where she knows they get delivered on Tuesdays. She has two boxes a week. I think that’s the secret.” Her longevity has not gone unnoticed publicly. She was presented with three Certificates of Recognition. On hand was Sheriff Michael Strada of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. Leola also received a personal note and certificate from Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen and a Senate and General Assembly Citation from the New Jersey Legislature. But if you ask her, the best gift was three tickets to a Yankees game. No ordinary seats for this lifelong fan — owner box seats in the second row behind the dugout and lunch, courtesy of the Center’s Activities Director Carol Kuhling and her son, August. “My father used to take me to Yankee games when I was young,” Leola said. “And I went to a game for my birthday last year. I didn’t think I’d be going again.” Surrounded by balloons, a Yankees tablecloth and a chocolate frosted cake, she blew out the candles for the 100th time. Leola was born and raised in South Orange. She married Joseph Geddis in 1936, has two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was active with many civic organizations including the League of Women Voters, the Rosary Society of the Catholic Church and the Auxiliary of the Deborah in Brownsville, Clark said. Clark and his wife Judith attended the party, along with their daughter Colleen. Leola will spend her birthday on a week’s vacation at Seaside Park on the Jersey Shore where she and Joseph had retired in the 1970s. The house holds fond memories for Leola and her family. It was built by her father, Arthur, around 1927 and was a summer house for her family for many years. After Joseph passed away at age 90, she stayed on for several years. It is still a place of respite for all four generations. “The shore house is a special place,” Colleen said. Leola and Joseph both worked in the insurance business. She stopped working to raise her children, then went to work as a legal secretary after her children had grown. She still takes care of all her own bookkeeping since she has been at Knoll View the past eight years. “She has the best longterm memory,” Colleen said. “She talks a lot about the time when my grandfather was in the military (during World War II). They were stationed in Louisiana — at Fort Polk — with four other couples. The women would rotate the chores daily. They would do the ironing, wash clothes, shopping. She loved that time.” And of course, the Yankees. The group closed the party with the song “Take me out to the ballgame.” Leola sang every word with a broad smile on her face. “I’m beginning to think my life was worthwhile,” she said.

The year she was born
In 1911...
The first Indianapolis 500 ran May 30, 1911
Average income was $983 a year
Price of a house (median) was $2625
Price of a new car (median) was $500
Quart of milk cost $.08
Loaf of bread cost $.05
Stamp was $.02
Famous people born in 1911
Jean Harlow - March 3, 1911 - June 7, 1937
Ronald Reagan - Feb. 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004
Roy Rogers - Nov. 5, 1911 - July 6, 1998
Ginger Rogers - July 16, 1911 - April 25, 1995
Lucille Ball - Aug. 6, 1911 - April 26, 1989
Butterfly McQueen - Jan 7, 1911 - Dec. 22, 1995
L. Ron Hubbard - March 13, 1911 - January 24, 1986
Tennessee Williams - March 26, 1911 - February 25, 1983
Vincent Price - May 27, 1911 - October 25, 1993