3 seniors living in same building celebrate 100th birthdays together

Three seniors living at the River Ridge Retirement Centre celebrate their 100th birthdays this month.

Centenarians celebrated with a Mad Hatter-themed tea party

Three residents at the River Ridge Retirement Centre celebrated their 100th birthdays this month. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Three seniors living at the River Ridge Retirement Centre celebrate their 100th birthdays this month.

Staff at the centre say it's rare to have this many centenarians all in one place, and it's even more rare that their birthdays are all in the same month.

"They all have their birthdays in July. So something was going on with the cancer babies," said Ronna Goldberg of All Seniors Care, referring to the sign of the zodiac. 

The centre usually sees about one resident a year turn 100, so when they had three milestone birthdays this month they knew they had to celebrate big. They often throw Mad Hatter-themed tea parties for centennial birthdays.

"A Mad Hatter tea party is like an endless tea party, and with lots of whimsy. So people are coming in hats and we are going to raise our hats and sing happy birthday," said Goldberg.
A Mad Hatter-theme saw tea served in fancy teacups and tiny cakes and cookies with Alice in Wonderland-themed designs. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Patrick Ramsey, Nell Chipka, and Ruby Joyce were the guests of honour.

Several dignitaries offered them letters of congratulations including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General David Johnston.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Progressive Conservative MLA Nic Curry were there to offer their best wishes and enjoy a cup of tea.

Several guests dressed up in their favourite Mad Hatter attire with white gloves and top hats. Tiny cakes and cookies with playing cards and clocks on them were served. Tea was served in fancy china tea cups.

What's the secret?

When asked how it feels to turn 100 years old Patrick Ramsey replied, "It just snuck up on me."

Ramsey turned 100 on July 3. He says there really isn't much of a secret except for minding your manners.

"You got to eat your porridge in the morning. You got to be a good boy and you got to be a good girl and do what you're supposed to do, and you'll get on in life," said Ramsey.
Patrick Ramsey sat in a specially decorated chair and wore a White rabbit inspired hat. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Ramsey recalls working as a paperboy in his early years at the corner of William Avenue and Main Street. It was in the mid 1920s before radio became mainstream.

"You had to sell newspapers. So they had all these editions. I always had to make sure I had change in my pocket for selling papers," he said.

Ramsey says turning 100 is just like any other day.

"My dad would say the first hundred years of your life are the most difficult," he said.

Ruby Joyce lived her life as a teacher and school administrator. Her parents were farmers and she grew up in the Great Depression. She credits country living for her good health.
Ruby Joyce says growing up in the country and living a simple and healthy life is the key to her longevity. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

"We had food and entertainment that was healthy," said Joyce.

Nell Chipka credits her longevity to being active and participating in plenty of activities.
Nell Chipka says the secret to a long life is keeping busy with a variety of activities. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

"Be interested in life and do things. Take part in different activities. It's healthy and it's good for you," said Chipka.