Maplewood woman becomes supercentenarian

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110. This age is achieved by approximately only one in 1,000 centenarians. It is estimated that there are about 300 living people in the world who have reached the remarkable age of 110. The true number is uncertain as not all supercentenarians are known to researchers at a given time and some claims cannot be validated. But one of the valid claims belongs to Edith Hodes Rose, who lives independently at Winchester Gardens, a retirement community in Maplewood. 

Aside from how extraordinary it is to live to the age of 110, Hodes Rose has done this with style and a joie de vivre. She sees no reason to fuss over this birthday, and felt likewise since she turned 100. 

“It’s just a number and if I wake up in the morning, it’s another day to appreciate the fortunate life I enjoy,” she said. 

Long-time friends, as well as her seven siblings and son, Marc, have predeceased her. But she is still surrounded by many kin. She has a tight-knit family: daughter Joan, son-in-law Bill, son Chuck, four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. There are also nieces, nephews and their families, all of whom are attentive to Hodes Rose, calling and visiting frequently — with the exception of these past few months due to COVID-19. This is not Hodes Rose’s first pandemic, for she remembers her mother sewing camphor packets for her children to wear around their necks during the “Spanish flu” of 1918. 

Hodes Rose is a modest and humble person. When asked what her secret is to longevity, she quickly chalks it up to “dumb luck,” as her parents only lived into their 70s. However, most of her siblings lived to be older than 90 and one of her brothers even made it to 104. Those who know her will attest to her delightful personality and healthy approach to life, including a focus on regular exercise and moderate eating. Her memory, vision and hearing are astounding. She was only in a wheelchair briefly after gallbladder surgery at age 103!

Spending time with Hodes Rose and listening to her wonderful stories, one quickly realizes that her outlook on life has a lot to do with how she handles the tough times and appreciates the good times. 

“I first met Edith when she was a spry 95 year old,” friend Gale Kobray said. “My mother lived in Winchester Gardens, down the hall from Edith’s sister, Pearl. Then Edith moved in and my mom became friends with her, too. Towards the end of my mom’s life when she had developed dementia, Edith lovingly attended to her and was a strong support during this painful time. After my mom’s passing, a beautiful friendship grew quickly between us, as though our 40-year age difference was no obstacle at all.”

Hodes Rose has had many passions throughout her amazing life including playing bridge, cooking, knitting and needlepointing, reading, playing tennis and interior design. She also often looks back at her fond memories of a wonderful marriage of almost 65 years to Joe Rose. She lights up any room she enters, looking gorgeous and connecting to the best side of people with her radiant smile.

Text and Photos Courtesy of Gale Kobray