Small Towns: Neenah senior living facility home to three centenarians

All three share their secrets to a long life
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - According to data from the United Nations, there are nearly twice as many centenarians living in this country compared to just 20 years ago.

The number is right around 90,000. Still though, only about one in every 5,000 people in the U.S. live to reach 100.

This week in Small Towns, that’s what makes our recent visit to a Neenah senior living facility so unique.

At Island Shores New Perspective, there was good reason for a celebration earlier this month. That reason: Jack Crockett, Victor Metzig and Kay Pharmakis.

“When we found out that the three were turning 100, 101 and 102, and all in a matter of two weeks, we knew we had to do something special just for them,” explains Megan Manty, Island Shores Life Engagement Manager.

For the guests of honor though, the milestone of living a century and beyond wasn’t really that big of a deal.

“I really never thought about it too much, I just live from Thanksgiving dinner until the next one,” says Jack, 102.

“Well, just lived day to day, I didn’t think about it a great deal,” says Victor, 101.

“I kind of chuckle to myself because it’s 100, it’s just unsustainable to reach 100, how could that be,” adds Kay, 100.

Kay, Jack, and Victor do admit however, it’s pretty rare to have three centenarians in the same senior living facility.

“Amazing, gives you hope,” says Ruth with a smile.

Another connection they share, they all had highly interesting and successful careers.

“I worked as an engineer for Kimberly Clark,” says Victor.

“Industrial chemist for a paper mill outfit,” adds Jack.

“I worked for the Atomic Energy Commission, it was interesting, fascinating and frustrating,” explains Kay.

Kay spent most of her life in Massachusetts before moving to Wisconsin, while Victor and Jack have lived their whole lives in the Neenah area.

They share a common belief in why more and more people are joining the century club.

“Fewer cases of serious physical setbacks that normally killed people earlier in life, that’s all,” says Jack.

“Better medical care,” adds Victor.

“I do think that we know a lot more about human beings, and diseases and medicines and stuff, it’s all that we’ve developed to take care of people,” says Kay.

Still, with April birthdays marking 100, 101 and 102, there’s a shared gratitude for their longevity.

“I just think I’m fortunate and thank God for that,” says Kay with a smile.

“I’ve lived an interesting life, traveled a lot, I’ve visited every state of the 50 states, one way or another, I think all in all, I’ve lived a good life,” says Victor.

And Jack, the elder statesman at Island Shores, has this advice for anyone eyeing the century mark.

“Live and take care of yourself the way you should instead of being a city bum let’s say, you’re going to beat the odds I think,” says Jack.

“They’re definitely an inspiration too many and I’m hoping that next year at this time we’re in the same spot with someone turning 103, 102 and 101,” says Megan.

Don’t be surprised if that happens, Jack, Victor and Kay say they plan to continue serving as an inspiration to all the younger folks at Island Shores.