BROOKVILLE — At the age of 104, Edith Altman is Jefferson County’s oldest resident.
She earned the recognition over a Reynoldsville man by only a few months, and celebrated her long life with family and friends Wednesday afternoon at Jefferson Manor in Brookville.
“It’s wonderful,” her daughter, Amy Slocum said. “It’s super. It’s great to be able to get together. We don’t do it often enough. This is a celebration of life.”
The Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging (JCAAA) discovered Mrs. Altman after imploring county residents to come forward with names of those they thought to be in the running for the title of the county’s oldest resident.
The agency publicized its search throughout the community, including its four senior centers, asking for a person’s age, date of birth and any background information that could be beneficial.
That’s how the agency discovered Edith Altman, who was born Sept. 11, 1907, in Mendon, Ohio.
“(The idea) was brought to us by one of the people in our community, and we thought it was also very interesting and the best way we could learn about some of our older citizens,” JCAAA Director of Development and Community Relations Mikki Oakes said.
Mrs. Altman married her husband, Arthur Altman, and had five children, three of whom — Beverly Slais, Don Altman and Amy Slocum — attended the celebration.
Amy Slocum described her mother as “the glue who held it all together.”
Mrs. Altman attended Clarion University for a period of time, worked at AAA in Brookville for 13 years and was a homemaker.
“She always made sure we had a hot breakfast,” Amy said. “If we were having Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, she had our money by the table. She just always took care of everything.”
As a family, Amy and her brother Don Altman, remember many “real” camping trips to Canada, with a tent out in the middle of a field with no running water.
Mrs. Altman was also active in United Methodist Women, bridge and photography clubs, and the Martha V. Conrad Study Club. She canned and gardened and knitted until she was 98 years old.
“And put up with all of our craziness,” added Don Altman.
Even after her children moved away from the home, Mrs. Altman was there to help babysit her grandchildren, Amy said.
And Mrs. Altman also taught her family many things, Amy said, including, patience, tolerance, acceptance and love.
Altman has 16 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and is awaiting the birth of two more great-great-grandchildren.
“She won by just a few months,” Oakes said. “We had a gentleman in Reynoldsville who is still very active at 104. He still drives, still goes to the senior centers, takes himself to the doctor and grocery shopping. It’s wonderful to see how well people in our community are aging, and it’s very beneficial to know that.”