District of Columbia Set to Celebrate 42 Centenarians

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By Sue Anne Pressley Montes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 2, 2006; Page B01

When they were born, Roosevelt was president — Theodore Roosevelt.

Oklahoma was not yet a state, and a pound of sugar cost less than a nickel. The average life expectancy in the United States was 47 years.

But these folks have lived far beyond that, spanning most of one century and moving carefully into the next. They are the District’s oldest residents, 100 years and still going, the vanguard of an increasingly older population, with memories dating to the early 1900s and present-day lives that range from quiet to very busy.

On Thursday, they will be honored at the District government’s 20th annual party for the city’s centenarians. Last year, there were 25 special guests; this year, 42 are expected, including returning honoree Marjorie Johnson, 101, who fusses that “I don’t like publicity.”

“Goodness gracious, y’all act like I’m the oldest thing that ever lived,” said Johnson, who will not leave her Northwest apartment unless she is immaculately turned out in hat, gloves, wig and heels.

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