USC Resident Celebrates Her 105th Birthday
Dorothy Fitzgerald shares her secrets to longevity.
On Friday, Dorothy Elizabeth Fitzgerald marked an impressive milestone in her life, turning 105 years old.
Sunrise of Upper St. Clair held a special birthday party to celebrate the event. Many of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren attended the celebration.
Brad Harrison, district director of the Mt. Lebanon office of Congressman Tim Murphy, presented Dorothy with a congressional recognition award for the occasion.
Dorothy was born July 8, 1906 at Allegheny General Hospital, and grew up in Bellevue, PA. She moved to Upper St. Clair in 1990, after her husband, Walter, passed away. They were married for 53 years. Dorothy lived on her own until she was 104 (and a half), walking nearly two miles to and from St. Thomas More Church—where she was a reader until she was 102 years old.
Dorothy has also traveled to Europe and went on cruises with her three children, Pat Engel, 71, Bobbi Grant, 69, and Bill Fitzgerald, 67, until she was 102.
“We all started going on vacations together again when she was 90,” Engel said. “We’ve gone all over.”
“When she hit 102, we went on a cruise and they said she couldn’t participate in any of the activities because they listed her as two years old.” Bill Fitzgerald joked, explaining that the ship’s computer only recognized two digit ages.
“She was walking up the six-story cement steps in her apartment complex,” Grant said. “We were afraid she was going to fall on that hard cement. So, she moved in here. She’s happy here.”
Dorothy moved into Sunrise on December 2010 and continues to stay physically and mentally fit. She walks and used the staircase at Sunrise until she recently sprained her ankle.
On Friday, you couldn't tell she had been injured, as she danced with crooner Frank Lavelle at her 105th birthday bash to the tune of “One” from “A Chorus Line,” and "Getting to know you" from "The King and I." Lavelle serenaded her with several tunes, “S’wonderful,” “Always,” and, of course, “Happy Birthday.”
Dorothy said, “I had a happy childhood. I went to college, worked, and got married and I have wonderful children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
Dorothy attended Seton Hill University on a full academic scholarship. She then continued her education at Carnegie Mellon University where she received Bachelor of Science in Business. She was an executive secretary for twelve years until Pat was born.
The centenarian played tennis until she was 95 years old, and loves to crochet and take long walks.
She attributes her faith and optimism for her longevity, adding, “Also, being nice to people. I try to make friends with everyone. I always try to be happy and smile at people instead of growling at them.”
Dorothy said, “I had a happy childhood, but I love living now.”
She pointed at her beautiful great grandchildren, Olivia and Alexa and said, “I have all these relatives I didn’t use to have.” Fitzgerald has nine grandchildren and 12 great children.
Her best friend at Sunrise, Lydia McGinty, 75, thirty years her junior, said, “I just adore her. We go on walks together and I just listen to her. She makes me laugh. She’s one of the brightest and wittiest people I know. And she’s 105!”