Congressman Dan Donovan visits James Washington on his 100th birthday! | Article from The Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Perhaps it’s Staten Island’s camaraderie and community spirit that brings out the very best in its residents, inasmuch as yet another super senior is rounding the century mark.
The latest centenarian to grace the elite roster is James Washington, the seventh of eight children born to sharecroppers, Nora and George Washington, in Mullins, S.C.
Born on Feb. 19, 1917, Mr. Washington was feted at Staten Island Care Center, the New Brighton facility he’s called home since 2014 — during a party that was fit for an honored veteran according to his daughter, Denise Warrell-Stevens.
Among the guests at the momentous occasion was Congressman Dan Donovan, representatives from the US Army and members of the Staten Island Chapter of the Rolling Thunder.
In speaking of his illustrious life, Mr. Washington attributes minding his own business, eating good food and loving people as the secret to his longevity.
He also credits his passion for religion for getting him through the hard times.
His daughter, Denise, says her dad is very family oriented and enjoys spending time with the younger generation and regaling them with tales of his growing up in the south.
“My dad may credit minding his own business to reaching this milestone, but I think it has something to do with excellent genes! He has three other siblings who lived well into their 90s.”
Staten Island Care Center facility administrator, Rafi Motechin noted: “It is a great honor and privilege to be able to highlight this momentous occasion with Mr. Washington.” “We look forward to sharing many more birthdays with him!”
And on Feb. 18 a birthday bash was hosted in Harlem by Mr. Washington’s granddaughter, Monica Warrell, a staffer in the Joseph P. Kennedy Senior Center.
In 1944 the birthday celebrant relocated to the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan.
Mr. Washington held the rank of Pvt. First Class in the U.S. Army and served during World War II. He went on to work as a laborer for the Port Authority of New York until his retirement at age 62.
Some of his interests included religious studies and he is now a retired pastor for the AME Churches in Harlem and in New Jersey.
SAYINGS AND RIDDLES
Those familiar with Mr. Washington will confide the super senior has a special affection for jokes, riddles and time-honored idioms.
Just a few for example: “I’m too blessed to be stressed,” and “I neither have an ache or a pain.”
“Two birds sitting in a tree. And one decides to fly away. How many birds are left sitting in the tree? The answer is two,” says he. “Because the bird changed its mind and didn’t fly away.”
Always a “Dapper Dan,” until this day Mr. Washington maintains an interest in perfecting the art of “sharp dressing.”
The “birthday boy” was married to the former Wilamae Jones, a Hunter College grad, who was a supervisor for the former Department of Welfare. Sadly, Wilamae passed in 1971.
Mr. Washington eventually married Georginna Tucker, who held a position at AT & T in Plainfield, N.J. She passed in 2012 and Mr. Washington moved to Rosebank to live closer to his daughter, Denise. He later became a resident of the New Broadview Manor Assisted Living Facility, Midland Beach and later transferred to the Staten Island Care Center.
However, we’re told what Mr. Washington cherishes most in life are his three children, James Washington Jr., Jan Washington, and the above mentioned Denise Warrell-Stevens, his eight grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.
In fact, many family members traveled from near and far to celebrate Mr. Washington’s100th birthday milestone.
FYI: Mr. Washington was presented with certificates from Congressman Donovan and City Councilman Steven Matteo, in addition to a plaque from Staten Island Care Center facility administrator, Rafi Motechin.
Happy 100th birthday, Mr. Washington!