Century Club: Pepsi drinker, longtime car pooler celebrate 100th birthdays
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Alice Larson, who turned 100 years old Sunday, drinks Pepsi like most people do water. She also enjoys Hershey bars with almonds. Who says candy and soft drinks are bad for you?
She was born on Oct. 14, 1912, in Heidelberg, the third of Charles and Anna Niemeyer's four children. She attended St. Joseph School in Carnegie and was trained as a secretary at Curry College. She worked as a secretary for Superior Mill, her father's employer, in Carnegie.
A regular at community dances, she met David E. Larson at one and later announced that she planned to marry him. Her mother objected that he was not Catholic, so they eloped and were married on July 28, 1931. They moved to an apartment in West Park and had one daughter, Monna Jean Lukehart, of Naples, Fla. Mrs. Larson often baby-sat for friends and neighbors, teaching the girls how to embroider and play bingo. Her husband passed away in 1993 after 62 years of marriage.
An excellent seamstress, she often created outfits for herself and family members that resembled designer clothes she had seen. She still enjoys reading, especially tabloid magazines, and watching dancing and ice skating on television. She has seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren. Mrs. Larson celebrated with family at the Masonic Village in Sewickley, where she now lives.
Ralph Joseph D'Antoni is a careful, deliberate man. He lived in the same house from age 16 until he was in his 70s and rode in a car pool with the same five men for 25 years. After dating for seven years, he decided to marry his wife, Florence, when he was about to head overseas during World War II. She took the train to Georgia, where he was stationed, and they were wed.
Mr. D'Antoni will turn 100 on Thursday at Prime Time adult care, a senior day program at Christ Methodist Church in Bethel Park. U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy or someone from his office will present a certificate.
He was born on Oct. 18, 1912, and lived with his Italian immigrant parents, twin brother and a sister in Uptown, near where the Civic Arena was later built. He and his wife lived in the family home in Beechview and had four children: Cheryl Stauffer of Peters, Janice Ward of Manassas, Va., and twins Ralph Jr. of Chillicothe, Ohio, and Robert of Bethel Park.
During World War II, Mr. D'Antoni was stationed in England and worked as a cook on an Army train that transported wounded soldiers (and sometimes POWs) to northern England for a trip back to the United States. When he returned, he learned to repair furnaces and got a job as an electrical tester for Westinghouse, working on large generators used on dams. He retired after about 30 years.
He volunteered with the Boy Scouts and was a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Lion's Club and AARP. At St. Thomas More Church in Bethel Park, he started a senior citizens organization. His wife passed away in 2000, and he moved to Upper St. Clair. He attends Prime Time two days a week and enjoys seeing his friends and winning bingo prizes.
Friends and family will celebrate with him at an 11:30 a.m. Mass on Saturday at St. Thomas More, followed by a party in the community center. He has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
First Published October 16, 2012 12:00 am