When Estelle Keen was born on Sept. 18, 1910, William Taft was president, Arizona had just become the 48th state, and World War I was still another four years out.
“Think of the things she’s experienced,” a friend said today at Keen’s birthday celebration.
The spunky, petite woman turned 107 today. Family members and friends, including vice chairman of the county Board of Supervisors Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), gathered at the assisted living community Ashleigh of Lansdowne to celebrate with her.
Keen was born in Jamaica, NY, and when she was about 10 years old, moved to Long Island. She moved to Loudoun County with her husband, who was a builder, just at the start of the county’s building boom.
She said her secret to a long life was being kind. “I never got angry. That helps,” Keen said.
Her one regret was her height, which peaked at 4 feet 11 inches. “But I think I also got noticed more in school because I was so short,” she added.
Keen was joined at the birthday celebration by her niece and her niece’s husband, Terry and Norman Weiss, of Leesburg; and her great nephew Matthew Abelson and his wife, Elyssa, of Fairfax County.
Over chocolate cupcakes and ice cream, Elyssa Abelson told Keen, “You always make us laugh.”
“Well,” Keen responded, “I try to make the best of it.”
Violet Brown, who was the world’s oldest living person, died in Jamaica on Sunday at the age of 117 years and 189 days. That makes 117-year-old Nabi Tajima of Japan the oldest person alive. She was born Aug. 4, 1900.