2 Assisted-Living Housemates Celebrate 101st Birthdays Together, Share Secrets of Long Life

October 6, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020

Two housemates at an assisted-living facility in Seattle just recently celebrated their 101st birthdays together.

The two ladies, LaVerne Dorr and Florence Murbach of Hilltop Adult Family Home in Lynnwood, celebrated the occasion handily despite the pandemic.

Staff at their small home pulled out all the stops to ensure the pair had fun, even with social distancing restrictions in place. Both women received visits from family members during their birthdays in the final week of September, though they said they missed getting hugs and physical contact.

Personal care worker Elsa Bruno ensured that the two lovely ladies had a day to remember regardless. “It’s very rare to have both of them here at the same month,” Bruno told 11 Alive, “and it’s really nice to celebrate them both.”

The home hosted a party for LaVerne and Florence replete with cake, balloons, gifts, flowers, and live musicians—including a guitar player and a violinist.

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(Illustration – NatashaPhoto/Shutterstock)

LaVerne is a lifelong Seattleite, who started her family at the age of 21 when she married her husband, Buford Dorr. The couple went on to have three children and shared seven decades of marriage.

Today, the proud matriarch has six grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren.

Florence was born and raised in North Dakota and recalls a childhood of great prudence and austerity. She remembers walking miles to school. If, and only if it snowed, her father would accompany herself and her siblings to school on a horse-drawn sleigh.

But from early adulthood, their stories shared marked similarities. Also at the age of 21, Florence moved to the Northwest, where she met and married Laurence Murbach, an employee of Boeing, until he retired.

Florence and Laurence were married for 71 years. Also a grandmother, the 101-year-old has welcomed 5 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren over the years.

The centenarians can lay claim to another profound shared experience. They have now both lived through two pandemics: the influenza pandemic of 1918 and the current one of 2020. Both ladies are taking precautionary measures, and the mandatory wearing of face masks, in their stride.

As for how the birthday girls enjoyed the bash, both LaVerne and Florence were asked what the best part of their milestone celebration had been.

“Laughter,” LaVerne told the news outlet, adding that “cheesecake” is the closely guarded secret to reaching the fine age of 101.

“Sure, I like cake,” she said.

As for Florence, she extols the virtues of a good cup of coffee. “She loves her coffee, three times a day,” Bruno added.

“I’m Norwegian,” Florence said, “and Norwegians especially like their coffee.”

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