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Published: Wednesday, 5/16/2007

Her formula for longevity: Just 'Stay active'

Edna Kaminiski, centenarian Edna Kaminiski, centenarian

Edna Kaminski turned 100 last week with the same matter-of-factness she seemed to have practiced all of her long life.

"I got a card from President Bush and a flag from [Congressman] Marcy Kaptur," she told an interviewer. The flag, in fact, had flown over the Capitol.

There also was a big party for her in the Victorian Dining Room at South Toledo's Swan Creek Retirement Village, where she's been a resident for 15 years.

Many friends, neighbors, and relatives were there, including a nephew who had come from Florida. Mrs. Kaminski was decked out in her favorite color, pink.

She couldn't help noting the difference in weather between May 8, 1907, and the sunny warmth of her birthday 100 years later.

"It was snowing when I was born," Mrs. Kaminski explained. "My mother said she remembered shoveling the walk to the sidewalk. She had pains. She thought they were from shoveling snow. The doctor told her to get to the hospital right away."

Sarah Laughlin has known Mrs. Kaminski for 11 years. She was right out of college when they met, and working part-time at Swan Creek.

Back then, Mrs. Kaminski was a resident of the independent living part of the retirement village. Today she's in the skilled nursing section.

Ms. Laughlin's status has changed too. Today she's Swan Creek's director of marketing.

"I told her to stay with it," Mrs. Kaminski said.

If she has any regrets, Mrs. Kaminski keeps them to herself.

She has outlived two husbands, both of whom she recalls fondly. She grew up across the street from Libbey High School, in South Toledo.

"But Libbey wasn't there," she explained. "It was just a field."

She went to Waite High School for two years, then took courses at what is today Davis College.

That led directly to a secretarial job for a manufacturer of sales books. It also led to a husband - "a good husband," she emphasized. "And a good son."

She and Yaro Hendricks were married for 45 years, until he died. Dates are a little hazy.

Her second marriage, to Alex Kaminski, didn't last as long, but was happy. Mrs. Kaminski has always lived in South Toledo, she says, with the exception of 16 years in Florida.

With a son, two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, Mrs. Kaminski says she's happy.

And where longevity is concerned, she has a simple formula: "Stay active."

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