Woman celebrates her 104th birthday By MEGAN HUSSEY | Tribune correspondent Published: January 16, 2010 Updated: January 16, 2010 - 12:00 AM »Comments | Post a Comment DADE CITY -- She served her country during World War II, threw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game, and met some of the nation's leading politicians. And Jan. 5, Eva Doherty celebrated her 104th birthday with her friends and neighbors at The Edwinola retirement community in Dade City.
"I've met some nice people in this world," she said. "And had a lot of fun."
This Massachusetts native worked until age 83 as a telephone manager and receptionist at the Lynn Daily Item newspaper.
"I was the boss, and that's all there is to it," she said. "I never said 'no' to work."
As part of this position, she met political luminaries such as Henry Cabot Lodge. She met additional celebrities as a major fan of the Boston Red Sox. She and her family (Eva's husband Ralph Day died in 1969; second husband John Corbin Doherty died in 1989) housed several Sox players during spring training sessions; in exchange, she got free game passes, and even threw out the first ball at a game.
"They (the team officials) would call and say, 'Are the boys in?' I'd say, 'Yep.' They'd say, 'Are you just saying that?' I'd say, 'Nope.'
The granddaughter of a Civil War veteran, Doherty also served the American Legion for 50 years, and during World War II would drive area neighborhoods to warn residents about wartime blackouts. She also organized and hosted Legion banquets.
"There was always something for me to do," she said.
Doherty sees hard work as a key to her longevity and success.
"One change I've seen through the years is that some people don't work hard anymore," she said. "If you want to get to be anybody, you have got to work."
These days Doherty does find time to take it easy, watching ballgames on TV, talking on the phone with old friends from Massachusetts, going out to eat, and hanging out with new friends she has met at The Edwinola, her home for the past three years. These include her caregiver, nurse Catherine Members.
"Eva has a great sense of humor and is very intelligent," Members said.
Several Edwinola staff members praised Doherty's quick wit and lively manner. When asked her age, she smiles and says, "I'm 64." She wears pink nail polish and laughs freely with her neighbors and caregivers.
"She's still beautiful and sharp in her mind," said Nila Premer, Edwinola activities director. "She remembers everything."
And she has solid advice for everyone who wants to match her record for longevity and vitality.
"Keep your nose clean, keep out of trouble," she said. "Don't do anything you shouldn't do."
SOME BACKGROUND: Eva Doherty, a resident of the Edwinola retirement community in Dade City, turned 104 on Jan. 5. To mark the occasion, staffers treated her to a party that featured lobster and birthday cake.
COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS: Doherty served the American Legion for a half-century and worked in the newspaper business for 46 years.
A LITTLE HISTORY: This Massachusetts native has lived in Florida since 1983, residing in Zephyrhills and most recently in Dade City. She has survived two husbands, Ralph Day, who died in 1969, and John Corbin Doherty, who died in 1989; as well as two sons, Frederick and Ralph Jr.