Hard work, active living pay off: Tremblay to celebrate 100th birthday

Hard work, active living pay off: Tremblay to celebrate 100th birthday

Doria Tremblay, of Woonsocket, will celebrate her 100th birthday next Wednesday.

WOONSOCKET – As Doria Tremblay approaches her centennial birthday this week, the 99-year-old says one thing she’s learned during her time on the planet is how to handle money.

“I did a lot of working,” she said, recalling her younger years.

Born Doria Boucher on Jan. 17, 1918, she was one of 11 children, and the only of her siblings born in Canada.

“My grandparents wanted the family to move to Canada so my father wouldn’t get drafted in the United States war,” she said of World War I.

The family returned to the U.S., where Tremblay attended St. Anthony’s School in Vermont. After graduating, she went to work in the community’s cotton mills, and married husband Ralph Tremblay on May 28, 1938.

The couple had family in Rhode Island, and moved to the state after the mill Doria was working in closed. She said she took up similar work at local mills including Berkshire Hathaway in Manville.

“I was a weaver and my father was a mechanic,” she said. “I was a textile worker for a good many years.”

Doria later found work in the kitchen of Diamond Hill Nursing Center in Cumberland, where she stayed for 15 years before she retired.

Doria and Ralph had three children – Jane, Albert and Carol. Jane and Albert passed away. Carol, the youngest, lives in New Mexico.

Doria also outlived all of her siblings. Husband Ralph died in 1980 at the age of 66.

“We had a good marriage,” she said. “We had good children.”

“I do a lot of praying I will make it to my birthday,” Doria said. “I outlived the whole family. I can’t believe it.”

She said that while she doesn’t know the secret to long life, she’s always been very active, dancing the Charleston as a young woman, and later staying involved with a senior dance group.

Her hobbies include making puzzles – she particularly enjoys ones depicting cats – and reading. She said that when her son used to visit her, they’d go to dinner and he’d ask afterward if she wanted to go to a bookstore. Doria says she never said “no.” Now, daughter Carol mails her stacks of books and Doria hands them out to staff when she’s through with them. Among her favorites is author James Patterson.

Several staff members and other patients where she now lives at Oakland Grove Healthcare Center in Woonsocket expressed a fondness for Doria, and she said of the facility, “I love it.”

“The only thing wrong is they give you too much food,” she said. “They think they’re feeding a horse.”

The grandmother of six still has family in Woonsocket, and said she enjoys the activities at Oakland, including playing games like bingo and Pokeno.

Doria said she doesn’t have any particular advice for younger generations saying “to each their own.”

And after all the years of working, she said the one thing she learned is “Handle money right.”