Local woman turns 108

Celebrating her 108th birthday is Louise Decker (right) with friend Doloretta Zugell. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Eight years ago, The Citizen first visited Louise Decker, writing an account of her life that began, “When Louise Decker stepped off the boat in New York on her sixteenth birthday in 1920, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. She was emigrating from Kirkintilloch, a small mining town nine miles from Glasgow and traveling with two brothers and two uncles. Turning 100 on Aug. 16, Louise looked back at a life that was shaped by the times during which she lived.”

In the years since the story of Louise became known to the North Boroughs, not much has changed for her. She still spends time with her friends at the Marian Hall personal care home at Mt. Assisi in Ross, and she continues to share her spirited good nature that makes her a favorite among the residents as well as the caregivers.

Turning 108 yesterday, Louise said that she has enjoyed her years at Marian. "They're wonderful here. They take good care of me. This is a lovely place, with everyone so helpful and kind."

As in 2004, strong religious convictions continue to guide her positive outlook on life. A member of the Bellevue Christian Church, Louise said then that "…too many people have taken God out of everything. When that happens, the world is bound to go downhill." Today, her solution to current world problems is a familiar one. "People should follow the Golden Rule. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you.'"

In this election year, she has not formed the strong political convictions that she had a few years back, when she enthusiastically proclaimed, "I'll vote for George Bush. I want him back in!"

The sudden affliction of macular degeneration that ended two of her favorite hobbies -- reading and knitting -- makes her uncertain of which candidate she would support in the upcoming election. "I really have not thought about it much. I haven't formed an opinion yet."

With a disability that has robbed her of what was once so important in her life, she is quick to offer the advice, "People should read more!"

Resident Doloretta Zugell said that when she arrived at Marian five years ago, Louise was the first person who befriended her. "She extended her hand, opened it and gave me a peppermint! She shows such kindness and friendliness. I admire her. I look to her as my ideal."

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