Centenarians celebrated at luncheon

Photo: Joshua Yospyn/ABC7

According to the D.C. Office on Aging, nearly 200 Washingtonians are centenarians, 100 years or older.

At a special luncheon Tuesday, the District’s oldest and wisest were treated to music and awarded medals in celebration of their longevity.

“And I bet you never saw a 105-year-old blonde before. I decided to be a blonde this morning,” says Alyce Dixon. “Whatever the occasion is I dress up for it.”

Dixon says her secret to a long life is sharing and giving.

“If I see September, I’ll be 106… I want to go to a nightclub and everything,” she says.

“I feel pretty good. I feel very well,” says Rayfield Griffin, who is 102 years old.

Griffin says he’s lived to 102 because of his Christian faith.

“I try to live a good life and let Him take care of the rest of it,” he says.

The oldest Washingtonian is 110-year-old Marie Buckner, who was born on February 3, 1903. She was unable to attend Tuesday’s event like many other centenarians. The mayor pointed that of the 195 registered with the District, only 21 centenarians are men.

“So ladies, would you all be willing to give us a few tips on how to make it to 100?” asked Mayor Vincent Gray.

The 2010 U.S. census found 100-year-old women outnumber men by about 5 to 1. Less than 20 percent live in nursing homes.

“Our seniors, we have to do more for them and treat them with greater dignity and respect and look to them because a lot of the answers we’re searching for now, they have them,” says Tonya J. Smallwood, the CEO of Family Matters.

At 101, Kelso Stewart is slowing down, but he’s still on his feet.

“His hearing is failing, his sight is failing, his walking is failing, but he has no diseases, nothing. And I keep him that way,” says his daughter, Intisar Lunir.

Stewart’s wife passed away many years ago, but even at this age, he’s still a charmer.

“Because I’ve seen one of them girls that I like and I’d like to go one more time,” he says.