BANGOR – The Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor celebrated a resident’s 100th birthday Thursday.
Gilberte “Bertie” Bickford rang in her birthday with a sing-along, surrounded by friends and family.
One of nine kids, Bertie grew up in Augusta in a French-speaking neighborhood. A century later, she can still speak the language. She wished herself a “happy birthday” in French.
Bertie worked in a paper mill and a shoe factory in Augusta.
Her husband was a veteran. They were married for 51 years.
The Veterans’ Home staff said Bertie hasn’t slowed down at all in the five years she’s been at the facility in Bangor.
“We were chatting this morning that she didn’t actually have to turn 100,” said Deb Ashmore, a nurse manager. “She could start going backwards.”
“A hundred years old and she’s still the life of the party,” said Administrator Greg Urban. “She still gets up and goes around the whole unit and facility everyday, making people smile.”
Staff said Bertie is known for keeping everyone in line.
“Bertie is the early riser, making sure that everything is going the way it’s supposed to go,” said Ashmore. “She’s best known for just being on the unit and constantly moving.”
Bertie learned how to drive at 60-years-old. But don’t ask her to get behind the wheel anymore.
“Oh no I don’t drive, I haven’t driven in a long time!,” Bertie said while laughing.
While a lot has changed since 1918, Bertie spent her birthday surrounded by the people she cares about.
Bertie commented, “I’m so happy to see the rest of the family.”
“Everyone’s taken the opportunity to come say hi to her today, wish her a happy birthday, and really give her that sense of family,” said Ashmore.
When asked how she lived to 100-years-old, Bertie stayed humble.
“Well, the same as anybody else,” she said.