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Sunday Seniors: For Trudie Nicholson, 100 is enough

  • Gertrude “Trudie” Nicholson celebrates her 100th birthday at Kendal at Hanover on Wednesday. Nicholson, whose birthday is March 2, is one of four 100-year-old residents at Kendal. (Jeff Roosevelt photograph)

  • Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Calendar Editor
Published: 3/7/2020 10:18:58 PM
Modified: 3/7/2020 10:18:55 PM

HANOVER — Trudie Nicholson claims she has not lived a spectacular life.

But those who gathered on Wednesday to celebrate Nicholson’s 100th birthday would disagree.

Nicholson’s longevity is impressive to be sure, but that isn’t what makes her life spectacular.

It’s her kindness.

“I didn’t think I’d make it, but I did,” she said, surrounded by well-wishers during the celebration at Kendal at Hanover. “I’m very thankful I’ve had a very good life.”

During the party, which featured tea served in mismatched china — no two teacups alike — a hat with her name on it sat beside her. As people gathered at the table, Trudie opened birthday cards, carefully reading each one.

Her birthday was March 2, and she is now one of four Kendal residents in the century club.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Nicholson met her husband, Howard, during her freshman year at Ohio’s Oberlin College.

“It clicked right away,” Trudie recalled.

The couple were married, and Harold went off to the Air Force, serving in World War II. “He came home to a year-old son.”

After the war was over, Howard Nicholson completed his graduate work at Harvard and found work at various colleges as an economics professor. The family had stints at the University of Virginia and Worcester, Mass.’ Clark University. Trudie and Howard were married 77 years before Howard’s death last year.

“We had a happy life together,” she said. “I have no complaints.”

They moved to Kendal shortly after it opened in 1991, and they made a point of reaching out to new people.

“We tried to be friends with everyone,” she said.

Dulany Bennett experienced that warmth when she and her mother moved to Kendal two years ago. Trudie and Howard would sit at a table near the front of the dining room and invite new people to sit with them for meals.

“They were so interesting,” Bennett said. “We really enjoyed eating with them.”

In the warmer months, Bennett said, she often encounters Trudie reading a book outside.

“She would always be sitting in the same spot where the sun was shining on her,” Dulany said.

Trudie never minded being interrupted and always makes time to discuss what she is reading.

“She’s one of the people I enjoy the most,” Bennett said. “I just really see her as a role model for aging.”

Trudie credits her longevity to her principles of “no drinking, no smoking and exercise,” she said. “Those are the ones I live by and I’ve been fortunate.”

Having a good, caring family, and a close relationship with God have also been key. Volunteering and helping others has also been at the forefront of her life.

“I’m not a spectacular person,” Trudie said. “I’m ready to go. I’ve done what I can do. I’m not really needed anymore.”

But “spectacular” is subjective. Those in Trudie’s life think she’s pretty spectacular.

“Just say she was a happy woman,” Trudie said. “She had a happy life and she’s ready to leave it.”

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.

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