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Ossining Resident Celebrates 107th Birthday

Clara Fontana cuts the cake at her 107th birthday party. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Clara Fontana Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Clara Fontana enjoyed her birthday with her grandson, great grandson and daughter. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Clara Fontana's birthday cake. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Clara Fontana has seen it all.

The Ossining resident and Mount Vernon native celebrated her 107th birthday at Victoria Home in Ossining with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Fontana was born in Mount Vernon in 1909, the youngest of 10 children. She grew up in Mount Vernon and later married her late husband Philip in 1933 and has three children. She worked as a secretary to the president of True Story magazine. Later in life, she moved from Mount Vernon to Briarcliff before ending up in Ossining.

Victoria Home said Fontana is very active, getting her hair done every week and is always making sure she looks her best.

"I feel good," Fontana said. "I have my grandchildren with me."

The Village of Ossining and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef both honored Fontana with proclamations.

Fontana and her family credit her longevity to a lifetime of hard work, stubbornness, and an aversion to alcohol and cigarettes.  Her son, John, who is 77, said having his mother still around was incredible.

"She means everything to me," John, who was visiting from Arizona, said. "She's lived a clean, pure life. She's never done anything bad."

Fontana's family said they were extremely fortunate to have her around, calling her a walking history book. Her children loved her pizza and spaghetti with gravy sauce that she would make for dinner. 

"I never thought she would still be here," her daughter Lucille Santoliquidoa, an Eastchester resident, said. "She taught me a lot. We used to bake together and roll the cookies. We did a lot of mother-daughter things."

Fontana said she didn't want any gifts for her birthday, just to be with her family.

"As long as I am celebrating with them, gifts are not important," Fontana said. 

Fontana is not the oldest person in her family. Her great-great grandfather lived to be 109.

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