Dorothy Morgan didn’t see what all the fuss was about when staff at The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills threw a party for her 100th birthday June 6, and her family had a party of its own for the humble former longtime Hinsdale resident.
Morgan said she always has tried to live a healthy lifestyle, but believes there’s a factor that has played a bigger role in her being around to celebrate 100 years.
“Its mainly due to heredity, on both sides,” she said. “I try to eat healthy and exercise, and I never drank or smoked, but I’m very much surprised that I’m still here at 100. Years ago, people didn’t live past 85, but there’s been a lot done with medical that keeps people living longer now.”
Morgan has used a walker since moving into The Birches more than three years ago, but that hasn’t prevented her from continuing with some exercise.
“I do exercise in my room,” she said. “It’s a stretching kind of exercise and not too much, but it’s important to do something. You always feel better if you move.”
Morgan said the best aspect for her of living to be 100 is that she still is pretty healthy.
“I am, but the worst part is that I can’t see, can’t hear and have poor teeth,” she said. “Different things do wear out.”
One thing that apparently has not worn out is Morgan’s pleasant demeanor, which comes across immediately.
“She’s always set a good example on how to be a good human being,” said Diana Saladino, the youngest of Morgan’s four children. “Just the way she’s always spoken to people and has treated people, it’s always been with a lot of kindness. She leads by example and teaches by example.”
Morgan, who grew up on a farm in central Illinois, considered pursuing a teaching career, but opted for the world of business and accounting after attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
She worked for various companies over the years and after retiring from working full time moved into retail.
“I worked at Marshall Fields, the men’s store, in Oak Brook, until I was 82,” Morgan said. “But I only worked there part time.”
Morgan said she enjoys living at The Birches.
“I’m comfortable here,” she said. “They treat you very well, and people are very friendly, for the most part. The food is very good, too.”
Other than exchanging pleasantries with other residents and staff, Morgan often keeps to herself, although she makes it a point to be around for musical programs.
“Music always has been a love of mine,” she said.
In her life she played the piano and clarinet, along with singing in a glee club during her school days.
She also was an outstanding student in high school, earning the role of class valedictorian in the 1930s, Saladino said.
Morgan was typically modest about that academic achievement, after her daughter mentioned it.
“It was a small class,” she said with a laugh.