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101-year-old Harvey survivor celebrates birthday in Atascocita

July 28, 2018

Bertha Caplan inspired good-spirited laughter from party guests as she broke out into a jaunty dance to celebrate her 101st birthday.

She was surrounded by birthday balloons, decorations and people she holds dear as family and friends gathered at Fall Creek Rehab and Healthcare Center in Atascocita on Thursday, July 26, to celebrate the occasion.

“This is wonderful, it’s just wonderful,” Caplan said. “It’s so special that everybody gathered here for this occasion — my family, everybody, all these people that I’ve been living with for almost a year. These are all people I love.”

Even at 101 years old, Caplan’s mind is sharp and her good humor remains in-tact. These attributes may have contributed to her ability to stay strong in the face of recent adversities.

“My mother survived Harvey,” said Irene Carroll, Caplan’s youngest daughter. “She was at Regent Care. She was one of the people they evacuated by boat and took to New Caney Church.”

Carroll, who lived in Atascocita, was unable to access roads that would allow her to pick up her mother. Fortunately, friends were able to reach her and take her to the house of one of her other daughters.

“Even at 100 (years old), she’s living through things like that,” Carroll said. “She lost everything. The few little belongings she had, they were gone. I was lucky enough to get her here (at Fall Creek Rehab). She’s adapted, but it’s been hard. She lost a lot of friends from Regent Care because the elderly people were distributed all over. That’s not an easy experience at this age, but she’s done really well.”

The number of Fall Creek Rehab residents that attended Caplan’s party served to punctuate her daughter’s statement. Caplan was happy, surrounded by tables and tables of new friends enjoying pieces of birthday cake.

When asked what the secret to a long life is, she said the key is to “work hard all your life, raise your children to the best of your ability, love them and help them along in their endeavors.”

Caplan has 5 daughters, 9 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren who could attest to that.

“She’s always believed family came first,” said Shirley Stumpf, Caplan’s daughter. “We’ve always been a close-knit family; still are. She’s been a great inspiration for us.”

mfeuk@hcnonline.com

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