“He makes me smile.” These four simple words were heard over and over again when the Summit Adult Day Services staff members were asked about Gordon Chapin. This quiet, pleasant gentleman will be celebrating his 100th birthday with his friends, family, and caregivers on Friday, June 20. “We are very excited to be here for Gordon’s 100th birthday,” says Kelly Poluga, Activity Director for Summit Adult Day Services. “He has been with our program since 2011, and his presence is an important part of our program.”
Jim Mazzagatti is equally excited to see Gordon turn 100. As Director of Summit Adult Day Services, Jim has been looking forward to such a day for a long time. “We’ve been in operation for almost 40 years and this is our first centenarian,” says Jim. “The goal of our program is to keep our clients physically and mentally active and help them remain in their homes and community. We’ve had a few clients live until age 99, but Gordon is our first to reach 100.”
Gordon was born on June 21, 1914 in Fort Anne, New York and one of four boys that grew up on a dairy farm. He attended a business college in Albany, New York and worked as a proof reader for a publishing company before entering the Army. Gordon married his wife, Dorothy, in 1941 and together they had six children. As a member of the US Army, Gordon served in World War II from 1943 – 1946 in Brazil and secretly worked on the Manhattan Project.
Following his time in the Army, Gordon and his family moved to Washington DC where Gordon served as a technical librarian for the Naval Department. He retired in 1971. Gordon and Dorothy enjoyed his retirement until Dorothy passed away in 1982. Eventually, Gordon relocated to Akron to live with his son Mike and his family. He currently has 15 grand children, 15 great grand children, and one great, great grandchild.
Gordon attends Summit Adult Day Services everyday and can frequently be found working a crossword puzzle or reading a book. Many staff members commented that he is quick to offer a smile or a friendly nod. “I love Gordon,” says Marlesa McWain, LPN. “I look forward to seeing him every day. He is the first person I know that is 100 years old, and I’m privileged to help care for him.”
Gordon beats the odds
- According to the US Census Bureau, there were 53,364 centenarians in 2010, making up only 0.0173% of the population.
- Roughly only 1 in 6,000 people reach the age of 100.
- About 80% of centenarians are white, about 80% are female, and about 80% were born in the United States.
- The three most populous states for centenarians are California, New York, and Florida.