Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Luetta Henderson reflects on her 100th birthday

CHICO – Centenarian Luetta Henderson says the secret to life is “minding your own business, being polite and looking good.”

Henderson lives at the Arbor Post Acute nursing home in Chico. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has lived most of her life in New York, moving there at the age of seven. She attended public elementary, middle and high schools in New York City, then went to junior college and earned her AA degree.

Henderson worked in the sewing district of New York as a secretary for one of the shopkeepers when she was 21 years old. From there, she went on to work in the Child Welfare Service as a secretary and then as an officer for 30 years and retired from the CPS. … She visited people’s homes in Harlem and checked the well-being of children.

Henderson met her first husband, Rudy Giscombe, at church and married him on June 11, 1942, in New York when she was 21. They were married for 30 years and had a son, also named Rudy, who was born in 1946. Rudy Giscombe Jr. became a musician and photographer and worked as a photographer for Chico News and Review. He died of prostate cancer in 2011.

Henderson married Joe Henderson again on November 21, 1976 and was married to him for five to 10 years.

She then moved to New Jersey for five to six years and then to Poughkeepsie in upstate New York, where she lived in a senior apartment building. Henderson remained active until about 90 years old. She went on long walks and shopped herself at the grocery store. Henderson still loves to walk and goes around the nursing home with a walker.

Henderson’s grandson, Sunny Giscombe, decided to move with her to Chico 10 years ago when she started developing symptoms of dementia so she could be closer to her family. Sunny Giscombe is married and has two children, three and five years old. He said that his children are like their great-grandmothers. Henderson lived with another family for almost a year, then with Sunny Giscombe and his family for three months, which turned into a dire situation due to her mental state. She moved to Arbor Post Acute a few years ago. Sunny Giscombe’s father, Rudy, met his mother and moved to Chico, where he lived for a long time. His father never wanted to live in New York.

Henderson has a strong faith and attended a Baptist church in New York. She also attended Chico Baptist Church for a long time. A pastor from Chico came to take her to church.

One of Henderson’s hobbies was singing in the church choir. She was not even asked if she could sing, she was simply summoned to become a member and immersed in the choir. She also enjoys reading detective stories and romance novels. She loved cooking, especially her famous potato salad, and enjoyed watching her “story,” the soap opera Young and Restless. She also loves theater and has seen many performances in New York. In her youth, she slipped off to the Apollo Theater to watch a performance.

Henderson loved to travel, he went on a Florida and Caribbean cruise and was in Alaska two or three times.

Henderson calls his 100th birthday his 50th “second time.” She strongly believes in exercise and laughter to stay healthy.

Henderson celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday with a big party at the Arbor Post Acute with family and staff.

Nation World News Desk
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