Mary Ottina, who turned 101 in her Westchester home Monday, May 2nd, says the secret to her longevity is “doing things in moderation.”
Born in the United States in 1904, Ottina at the age of five moved to Italy, where her parents originated, and did not return to the U.S. until she was 19.
Ottina’s daughter, Irene Newton, recalls a childhood story her mother has told her many times.
“My mother’s uncle in Italy gave her the responsibility of taking care of two pigs that would ultimately end up on the dinner table,” said Newton. “It turns out that my mom was afraid of the pigs and would run from them.
“She really struggled with taking care of those pigs because she was so afraid of them, but in the end she did care for them.”
Ottina has two children and four grandchildren.
She enjoys baby-sitting, gambling, and watching CNN Headline News, according to her daughter.
Ottina does not have a special diet or regimented eating plan. In fact, she eats a lot of everything, her daughter says.
“She eats a lot of pasta, she loves her bread, and enjoys a glass of vino or a beer,” Newton says. “She still drinks caffeinated coffee to this day.”
Ottina moved to Westchester with her husband in 1951 into the house where she lives to this day.
Ottina’s husband passed away in the late 1970s.
“Mary remains very active,” says her caretaker. “She gets her hair done once a week, visits her grandchildren, loves to baby-sit, and enjoys the parties at the senior center.”
“I think the secret to my mother’s old age is her attitude,” says Newton.
“She is a strong woman, friendly, engaging, very loving and compassionate.”