Healthy eating, daily walks, the fear of God, and one Peroni beer a day keeps 100-year-old Eunice Shadle going.
A resident of Montevue Assisted Living, Shadle left her home for the day on Easter to visit with family she hadn’t seen face-to-face in some time. She’s a mother of three, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother of “too many to count,” daughter Jessica Lombardi said jokingly.
Shadle turned 100 April 1. Her only granddaughter, Michelle Larkin, called her every day of the pandemic. In May, Larkin could visit her grandmother outside, but on Easter, they got to hold each other close.
“100 is so special,” Larkin said. “All she wanted is a hug.”
Family members representing four generations gathered at Carol Larkin’s home in Frederick. Shadle’s eldest grandson, Bobby Vergura and his son Noah came from California to surprise Shadle. It had been years since they saw each other.
“You turn 100 once and you had to be here,” Bobby Vergura said.
Lombardi, who traveled from North Carolina, was ecstatic to see her mother surrounded by family. Though they spoke on the phone daily and had video calls, Lombardi worried Shadle felt lonely while COVID-19 restrictions kept them apart physically.
“I’m glad I could be here, otherwise, I’d be alone,” Shadle said.
Lombardi surprised her mother Sunday with a birthday letter from former President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Shadle slid on her glasses to get a good look and asked if she had to give it back. It’s yours to keep, her daughter said.
Shadle hails from Nelson County, Virginia, but lived in Maryland most of her life, according to Lombardi. Shadle moved to Frederick in recent years to be closer to family. During World War II, Shadle worked for the Department of the Navy in a high-level security position helping find battleships, Lombardi said. In the 1950s, she started working for General Motors handling customer complaints and retired from there in 1983. Since then, she’s enjoyed painting and even won a few blue ribbons over the years, her daughter said.
Shadle said she loved helping children, serving as a scout leader and Sunday school teacher.
“I’m proud of myself because I came from nothing,” Shadle said. “I never stopped growing.”
For those who want to live a long life, Shadle recommends eating well, getting good sleep and respecting God. Loving people goes a long way, too, she said. Though reaching 100 is a milestone, Shadle believes there is “good to come yet.”