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California resident celebrates 110th birthday

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SHERMAN OAKS, CA (CBS)- Ruth Mendelson, a long-time resident at The Village at Sherman Oaks, recently earned the official title of supercentenarian, reserved for someone who is 110 years old or older.

She marked the occasion with family, friends and staff of the active retirement community.

“With today’s current climate, we were able to celebrate Ruth’s birthday with extra precautionary measures like sanitizing, hand-washing and keeping social distancing in mind,” explained Zest Director Christina Spears. “It was truly a memorable event. She was thrilled seeing her family and appreciated everyone’s efforts to make the day so special.”

Among the well-wishes received by Mendelson was an official birthday greeting from the City of Los Angeles Fourth Council District member, congratulating her on over a century of life.

The world looked quite different in 1910 than it does today. William Howard Taft was President; there were only 46 states; women could not vote in presidential elections; less than 10% of homes had a telephone; there were only about 1,000 miles of concrete roads in the U.S.; and there were not yet any scheduled commercial U.S. airplane flights.

Born on the lower east side of Manhattan in New York City, Mendelson moved to Brooklyn with her parents and three siblings at a young age. She attended PS109 School and then Thomas Jefferson High School, but she left after the 10th grade to work office jobs to help support her family.

Mendelson met her future husband, Benjamin Bender, who lived across the street when he was 12 and she was 10. They were married in 1932 and relocated to Los Angeles in 1937. The couple had two sons, Robert and Earl. Following her husband’s death in 1960, Mendelson returned to the workforce until her remarriage in 1967.

Mendelson has remained active in her later years at The Village of Sherman Oaks by taking daily walks, exercising, attending current events classes and most importantly, socializing with others, including her friends and neighbors in the community.

“Over the years, several residents have made a point of telling my brother and me how lucky we are to have such a mother,” said Earl Bender. “She’s often been described as a most extraordinary person whose perpetual smile and positive attitude are inspiring.”

When asked the secret to her longevity, Mendelson said: smile, eat healthily and exercise. Her son, Earl, has often asked if she also mentioned that longevity runs in their family. Her mother and father lived to 101 and 92, respectively, and were married for 76 years, and her younger brother lived to 97 and a cousin to 104. Mendelson responds with a smile.

In addition to her two sons, she has five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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