Turning 100 is just another day for May Youngblood Kerwin. Her bright eyes and jubilent smile reflect the attitude she carries with her every day. She does not want to miss anything in life and most importantly she wants to see her family happy and healthy.
“I don’t think much about it,” she said about turning 100 years old. “The only time I do think about it is when I hurt.” Kerwin suffers from arthritis and pseudo gout, and, after having a heart attack nearly 10 years ago, she is taking 15 pills a day. “I really need that medical marijuana,” she said with a smile. “I was thinking about growing it out back here ,but I am afraid they will kick me out.”
After living in the same house for over 70 years in the Hudson Valley in New York, Kerwin moved to Chester to be near her daughter, Sharon Youngblood Sipos, and her family. In her upper 90s at the time of her move to Virginia, she continued to live on her own in the Chester Senior Apartments for nearly three years. She has been a resident at Lucy Corr Assisted Living for a little over a year. “I call it my little shoe box,” she said about her apartment in Lucy Corr. “It is just right. The doctors are wonderful, the therapy at Lucy Corr has helped, and they take very good care of me here. I like it here. It is a relief to have things done for me. They (the staff) are all wonderful.”
She may contribute her longevity to her genes but feels her lifestyle has played an important part. “I started exercising when I was in my teens,” said Kerwin. “It was something I loved to do. I didn’t like organized sports; I just like to do my own thing. I started a half hour exercise routine watching John Glambly (a TV exercise guru) every morning and then walked to school. I continued to exercise, kept a good diet, never smoked and had a small glass of wine every day until I started taking medicine.”
Kerwin said she is also addicted to working crossword puzzles. “I started when I was 16,” she said. “I remember coming home one day with my family from church and I picked one up and started working it and haven’t quit.” She also loves news programs. “The world is so exciting right now and so terrible,” she said about keeping up with current events. “I just don’t want to miss anything. The worse it gets, the more fantastic.”
She also reads, watches old movies, is very organized, loves muffins and never goes anywhere without her earrings.
Kerwin is a direct descendent of the French Huguenots in New Palte, N.Y. (1600s). She was born in Walden, N.Y., lived through two World Wars, survived the Flu Epidemic of 1918 and the Great Depression. She married Herbert Youngblood, and they had one daughter. Widowed at 57, to keep busy, she befriended her neighbors whenever and wherever she was needed. She even had a month-long stay with a neighbor recuperating from surgery.
She remarried at the age of 70.
Kerwin has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is 4 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 112 pounds and has all of her teeth.
“She has the ability to adjust wherever she goes,” said her daughter, Sharon Sipos. “After living 72 years in the same home and then moving here, she just took everything in and adapted. When she moved to Lucy Corr, she said, ‘It is time.’”
Kerwin’s son-in-law Charles Sipos said, “We thank God that we have this wonderful experience. May has lived 100 years, and her mind is so good, and we take every opportunity to listen to what she has lived through. Her life history is so fascinating.”
Kerwin is celebrating her 100th birthday on Wednesday with family at Lucy Corr Assisted Living. A small celebration is planned. She was born July 15, 1915.