Oct. 19, 1903, Audrey Lott was born in Washington, D.C. As an adult, she was a waitress at the Daughters of The American Revolution Chapter House, and she often served at White House parties for Bess Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Tuesday, Elizabeth Schaefer Auditorium was filled with St. Francis residents and staff as Lott celebrated her 110th birthday with several relatives in attendance. Attendees were invited to sing "Happy Birthday," sign a banner and enjoy cupcakes, ice cream and snacks.
A table was set up to hold a collection of birthday cards and proclamations from the mayor of Tiffin, the Ohio House of Representatives, Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, both Ohio senators and the New England Centenarian Study.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Audrey Lott celebrates her birthday earlier this week at St. Francis in Tiffin.
Friday, Lott gave a short interview in her room at St. Francis Home. Two birthday balloons floated above her chair, and on her lap was a box of chocolates from Hopewell Church of God, which she attended while she was able.
"I got a lot of flowers and cards and cakes," she said. "I got so many cards and things, I don't know the people. I'm just happy that I get them."
At age 50, Lott moved to Tiffin to be near her son, Grant Taylor, the first African-American postmaster of Tiffin. For a few years, she worked in the home of Dr. Donald Shanabrook, who sometimes brings his dog to visit her at St. Francis.
"I was in the kitchen a lot. I helped wash things out, wiped down and swept things up," Lott said of her time at the Shanabrook home.
Later, Taylor moved his mother into Kiwanis Manor. She lived there until 2002, when she broke her hip.
"I lived at Kiwanis quite a few years. ... I had quite a few friends at the manor," she said.
For the past 11 years, Lott has resided at St. Francis Home. Initially, she lived on the third floor under the care of Cathy Buskirk, RN. After Lott moved to second floor, Buskirk was transferred to the same area. Now, Buskirk is the unit manager on the second floor. A caregiver from Heartland Hospice spends mornings with Lott five days a week.
The super-centenarian offered chocolates to visitors that popped in and out during the interview. On her way to a meeting, Sister Patricia accepted a piece but said she would come back another time.
"Another time? There won't be nothing left another time," Lott said. "It's my favorite candy."
Buskirk said a teacher and a couple of his students are coming to visit Lott today and deliver a card they made and a small cake. She said she got a call Tuesday from George Tucker Jr., a teacher at Achieve Academy, a charter school in Toledo.
"His students had seen her on Channel 11 and they were so inspired about that," Buskirk said.
Lott has six grandchildren and "many" great grandchildren. Her secret for longevity? Raw onions and a good brand of scotch on ice. Her advice? "Enjoy life while it's here and eat well."