Treemont Retirement Blog

When Is The Last Time You Attended a 105 Year Birthday Celebration?

Posted by Lisa Witt on Apr 4, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Join Ellen Korrigan Cunningham Hunt's 105 Year Celebratation, April 10th at 2:30PM

How many Centennial Celebrations have you attended? 105 Year Celebrations? Treemont is pleased to announce that celebrant Ellen Hunt is turning 105 Years Young. We celebrate that Ellen Ellen_Hunt_assisted_living_Houston_resident_turns_105is vibrant and setting a great example for all on aging with grace. Does Ellen look 105 years old? The photo below was taken this week! Ellen has even edited her own biography outlined below. We should all be as alert and engaged as Ellen Hunt is at 105 years of age!

The party will begin at 2:30PM on Friday, April 10th in the Treemont Lobby with cake and punch and the blowing out of the candles. I can't imagine how Food Service Director James Renshaw and Activities Director Aimee Dubuisson get all 105 candles lit in a timely manner! "We may have to notify the fire dept if the candles create too much smoke," says Aimee. Entertainment by pianist Danette MacMahon will begin at 3:30pm.Danette has asked for Ellen's favorite songs so this will make for a fabulous afternoon. Nelda Sims will play between 2:30 - 3:30.  Ellen's daughter Lee  from California will be on hand along with family and church friends. Plus, a Houston Chronicle reporter and photographer will be present to document this signifiant milestone.

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Please read about the life of Ellen Korrigan Cunningham Hunt

In Scotland, 1909, the young couple married. Soon they discovered a child was on the way.   A friend had written the young husband about the opportunity in the United States.Soon, the young man bid farewell to his pregnant wife and sailed to America in search of a better life. The young bride was left behind to have her infant delivered by the baby’s grandmother who was a midwife. More importantly, there would be no charge for the delivery. Ellen Korrigan Cunningham made her debut into the world the very day her father would land in America. She and her mother would follow 5 months later. She was given her middle name in honor of the grandmother who delivered her into this world. 

Ellen had two younger brothers.   One was born 2 years after Ellen and another was born when Ellen was 7 years old.   It was about this time when Ellen saw her first war movie. She was so affected by the brutality of war that she prayed for “World Peace” every night after that.Her brothers would play an important role in her life. One would introduce her to her husband and another would be lost in a training accident during WWII. 

Ellen and her family lived in Lowell, Massachusetts (35 miles northwest of Boston) until she was 48 years old. She was fortunate to find a babysitting job in high school; even more fortunate that the man whose children she cared for worked at Waterside Mills, a family-owned firm and a corduroy finishing factory.   She was offered a job in the office at the factory as soon as she finished high school. It was at this factory she would continue to see the man who would become her future husband.He not only was a ball player, but he worked at the factory also.

William Nathanial Hunt’s father came from England and went right into the Spanish War upon arriving in America.   He became the oldest Spanish War Veteran living in Lowell, Massachusetts. William Nathanial Hunt knew Ellen’s brother, Arthur, from school and they played touch football together —- sometimes in Ellen’s front yard. One afternoon, Ellen was returning from work, saw Bill in the front yard playing ball with her brother, and bid him a nonchalant “Hello”. This was the beginning of a wonderful friendship and love that endured 58 years.   Ellen and Bill dated for 4 years; they would go to movies and go bowling. I saw a smile brighten her face when she remembered she’d beat Bill at bowling.   When they were married, the florist gave Ellen 16 dozen Gladiolas for $4.00. Ellen’s face beams when she speaks of the adorable cottage she live in with Bill when they were first married — she describes the walk way, the screened porch and the small 3 bedroom cottage where her life as a bride, young wife and mother began.  

Bill and Ellen lived in Lowell, Mass., Long Island, NY and in Florida.    They moved to Houston, Texas in 1993, when Bill’s illness became severe and Ellen needed help from family to manage his care.   Bill passed away in 1994.  Their daughter lives in Houston and is married to a wonderful man who visits Ellen on Sunday afternoons.  Ellen has lived in 4 retirement communities after moving to Houston.   She has lived at Treemont Retirement Community for the past 3 years.  

Ellen plays Bridge religiously; several times a week.  She reports it keeps her sharp. “I believe I was in my 40’s when I first began playing bridge.   I remember my children were in school and I played from 10a.m until 2pm.   I had to get home in time for the children to come home from school and to cook dinner.” She recalls wistfully “I’ve been playing Bridge for over 65 years”. 

When asked about transportation when she was a child, Ellen states they didn’t own cars.   If you wanted to get somewhere, you either walked or took a street car.   She would not drive a car until well after she was married.   Lighting came in the form of a “Mantle” that you put in fixture on a gas pipe that hung from the ceiling and was lit with a match.   It would burn for quite a long time and then you had to replace it with another one. Mantles cost .25 cents in those day and you tried to make them last as long as you could.   Ellen remembers that they provided a lot of light.   

In those days, ladies wore long dresses/skirts, to the ground.   Ellen graduated from Grammar School in 1923 and from High School in 1926.  She remembers the major events in her long life.   She’s seen the ends of wars, the attack on Pearl Harbor – her father explained what had happened when she and her husband visited her parents for Sunday Lunch.   She remembers epidemics:  polio, scarlet fever (which Ellen had at 15 years of age), flu epidemics, measles, mumps, etc.  

Ellen Remembers missing 6 weeks of school with scarlet fever.   While she was recovering, her mother bought her two books:  “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens and “Vicar of Wakefield” by Oliver Goldsmith.   After returning to school, Ellen asked her teacher, Miss Elizabeth Irish, about making up the work she had missed during her illness. She explained to Miss Irish about the books she had read.   Miss Irish told Ellen, “If you write a book report on each of the books, I’ll give you full credit for the time you’ve missed.” Ellen thought that was a pretty fair trade and happily wrote the reports. 

This quick witted woman remembers she was a soloist at Abraham Lincoln School when she was 10 years old.   She was asked to sing “April Showers” in the huge school auditorium.   Despite a case of nerves, she delivered the song beautifully in her powder blue “Chevy Chase” dress.  She was asked to sing after that in every school concert.   A devilish smile creeps across her face as she recalls the words of Beverly Sills “Women start to lose their voices at age 50”.    Cocking her head to one side, she says “I can’t imagine WHERE I’d find my voice at this age”.    When asked if she ever thought she’d live to be 105, she replied “I never dreamed I’d live to be this old.   I thought I’d live to 65 or so - - but 105 – NEVER!!”

Read about the importance of finding an active retirement community where seniors can nurture their hobbies and interests and develop new friendships late in life.  

To learn more about other Treemont HappeningsCheck out this recently published assisted living Activities Calendar for March 2015.

If you are looking for a retirement community in Houston, keep in mind the importance of choosing one that encourages a vibrant, active social calendar. Read more about how residents form lasting friendships in senior living Houston communities.  

Please call Activity Director Aimee Dubuisson to RSVP at 713-783-6820 or email her at Aimee@Treemont.com. To plan lunch and a tour, please call Lupe or Linda at 713-783-6820.

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Topics: Treemont Happenings, Events at Treemont