Join us in a celebration like no other as we honor Edith “Edie” Recagno Keenan Ceccarelli, America’s oldest living person, as she turns an incredible 116 years old. Edie resides in the charming town of Willits in northern California, and her hometown is throwing her a magnificent birthday bash.
A Legendary Resident
Edie is not only the oldest person in the United States, but she also holds the incredible title of being the second-oldest person on Earth, according to the Gerontology Research Group. With her birthday falling on February 5th, the town of Willits has made it a tradition to celebrate her special day every year. This year, the festivities will take place on Sunday, February 4th, featuring a grand parade that highlights the life and accomplishments of this local treasure.
A Parade Fit for a Legend
The birthday parade promises to be the party of the season in Willits. City employees, including the vice mayor, council member, fire and police departments, and even the Boy Scouts, will all take part in the parade. As the procession winds through the town, residents and visitors alike can join in the celebration by decorating their cars with balloons, flags, signs, and streamers as they drive past Edie’s assisted living home.
Suzanne Picetti, the lead parade organizer, emphasizes the importance of making Edie feel cherished on her special day. “Every year at her birthday, we make sure she knows how special she is,” says Suzanne. And Edie herself is excitedly looking forward to indulging in her favorite carrot cake and strawberry ice cream, followed by a well-deserved nap before the real festivities begin.
A Community United in Joy
The birthday celebration has always been a community affair. On her 100th birthday, Edie began inviting the entire town to join her in the revelries. Her friends even took to The Willits News to spread the word and ensure everyone was aware of this public party. “It brings community together to celebrate a really special human being. It brings a lot of joy and happiness to our community,” explains Suzanne.
A Life of Hard Work and Resilience
Born in Willits in 1908, Edie has spent her entire life in northern California, residing in Eureka, Ukiah, and Santa Rosa at different stages. Her parents, immigrants from Italy, settled in Willits in the early 1900s. She is the eldest of seven siblings, having outlived them all.
Growing up, Edie and her siblings learned the value of hard work, contributing to the family income by taking on odd jobs and helping with farm work. Life in those days was all about physical labor, walking everywhere, and growing their own food. Despite the challenges, Edie’s family persevered and built a house in which she was born.
A Testament to Elegance and Grace
In addition to being a hard worker, Edie is admired for her impeccable sense of style. Even at the age of 100, she could be seen strolling through town, dressed to the nines, with a hat, gloves, jewelry, and flawless makeup. Alongside her first husband, who worked as a typesetter at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Edie raised a daughter and became a grandmother to three granddaughters.
Throughout her life, Edie found happiness in dancing, cooking, gardening, and going for walks. She has undoubtedly led a fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Join us this Sunday as we honor and celebrate Edie’s remarkable journey. The parade will take place rain or shine because nothing can dampen the spirit of a community united in celebration. Let’s make this 116th birthday a moment to remember for America’s oldest living person, Edith “Edie” Recagno Keenan Ceccarelli.