Della Cummings of Penn Hills will celebrate her 100th birthday Thursday with two parties -- one in the morning with church friends and the other, hosted by niece Maura Olson, in the evening at a restaurant with Ms. Cummings' siblings -- including a 101-year-old sister -- and other relatives.
She was born Oct. 17, 1913, in Oakland, the second oldest of John and Delia (Rogers) Cummings' six children. The oldest, Margaret Edgar of Penn Hills, turned 101 on Sept. 16. Betty, the third girl, is deceased. The other siblings are Rita, 92, Jack, 88, and Charles, 86.
The family moved to Garfield, and Ms. Cummings graduated from St. Lawrence High School in 1933. Three years later, she graduated from Mercy Hospital's nursing school and worked at the hospital for three years, then spent four years doing public health nursing for the state. From 1943 until retirement in 1978, she worked as an industrial nurse at U.S. Steel's Duquesne Works. After retirement, she took care of her parents. Her mother died in 1982 and her father in 1989.
Retirement didn't mean that she stopped working, however. "I live by myself and take care of a six-room house," she said in a phone interview, noting that she also grows many flowers, shrubs and vegetables, including tomatoes.
She goes to Mass every day but Saturday, attending services four days each week at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Verona and two days at St. Girard in Penn Hills. Neighbors Mary Lou and Dave Gartner take her to church every weekday, and another neighbor, Allison Bursic, takes her on Sundays.
"She is so sweet, has so much on the ball," said Mrs. Gartner.
For her neighbor's birthday, Mrs. Gartner has arranged a party at St. Girard after the 9 a.m. Mass. At least 25 people are expected to attend. That evening, the family party is planned at Hoffstot's restaurant.
If you or a friend or a relative recently turned 100 or will soon do so, the Post-Gazette would like to hear from you. To be included in Century Club, send the honoree's biographical information and your phone number to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Century Club, Attn: Kevin Kirkland, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Fax: 412-491-8452. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM