Century Club: Clara 'Nunny' Franceschini's secrets: Put others first and dress well

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Clara “Nunny” Franceschini, who will turn 100 years old Aug. 10, has several recipes for a long life. That’s not surprising considering that she regularly ran the kitchen that produced more than 1,200 spaghetti dinners for a church festival in Barnesboro, Pa.

“I worked hard and I ate a lot of homemade Italian food,” she says. “It’s important to always put others before yourself.”

And one more: “You always need to dress up and look good every day. That makes you feel good.”

She was born on Aug. 10, 1914, in Barnesboro, the youngest of Samuel and Catherine Rocco’s eight children. She spent all but five years of her life in Barnesboro and was active in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, where she cooked for the priests for many years, and the Barnesboro Sons of Italy in America. In 1998, she was honored for distinguished service by the Sons of Italy. She was president of its ladies lodge for 58 years.

In 1938, she married Reno Franceschini. She has two daughters, Mary Kay Simon of Greensburg and Rose Marie Billhimer of Beachwood, N.J. She has six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Mrs. Franceschini enjoys playing cards, bingo and shopping, especially at DeLallo’s Italian Marketplace, Burlington and dollar stores. In the summertime, she likes to visit church festivals and shows and events organized by her granddaughter, Kelly Simon, with whom she lives in Greensburg.

She will have two celebrations, one at her home with an Italian dinner, a magician and a Frank Sinatra impersonator. The other party will feature more of her favorite foods, barbecued chicken and ribs. Her family says that birthday greetings can be sent to her at 645 E. Pittsburgh St., No. 357, Greensburg, PA 15601.

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: kkirkland@post-gazette.com.

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