104-year-old Carrollwood woman still focuses on future
CARROLLWOOD, FLA. 8/19/13 Grace Tylar, born in New York in 1909, celebrated her 104th birthday Friday with a celebration at Emeritus at Carrollwood, where she has been a resident for nealry four years. GEORGE WILKENS/STAFF
CARROLLWOOD — At 104, Grace Tylar still gets excited about plenty of things. This week the New York native was busy getting her nails and hair done for her Friday birthday party at Emeritus at Carrollwood, where she has lived for nearly four years. Prompted to reflect on achieving such a milestone, she said, “I had a healthy life, always took care of myself.” “Diet is a big part. I like all food. I don’t think there’s any food I don’t like,” she said. At the independent and assisted living facility on South Village Drive, mealtime is a highlight. “I never miss a meal,” Tylar said with a laugh.
“She’s gained some weight by living here,” remarked local friend Mary Lou Rodgers, who met “Gracie” through Eddie Beck, Gracie’s nephew who lives in New Jersey and regularly telephones his aunt. Tylar said she and her late husband, Walter, left the Northeast for Florida many years ago — for the reason many people do: “We thought it was warmer here.” Born in 1909, she worked for Bell Telephone Co. in New York and New Jersey. “That’s the only job I ever had,” starting at age 18, she said. After retirement — she doesn’t recall the exact year — the company occasionally called her back to help out, she said. Kristie Rowe, community relations director at the 110-bed Emeritus at Carrollwood, said Gracie, who remains very mobile with the use of a walker, spends time daily socializing with friends in her own “special spot” in the lobby. “People gather there and visit with her,” Rowe said. “And Gracie is always present at our complimentary ice cream socials.” With conversation returning to food, Gracie adds that her favorite restaurant, where Rodgers regularly takes her for lunch — sometimes after an appointment with the eye doctor — is Red Lobster. Gracie orders a favorite food: shrimp. Even at 104, some general philosophy on life stays true. “I think about the future, not a lot about the past,” Tylar offers. “I had a good life all the time; just a good life, that’s all.” firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7124