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Boston Woman Celebrates 103rd Birthday at F.C. Senior Community

birthdayPauline Phillips, a Boston-area native and Northern Virginia resident for the last four years, celebrated her 103rd birthday on Saturday at Sunrise Senior Living in Falls Church with the company of staff members, friends and her only son, Michael.

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Photo: Douglas Oliva

Pauline Phillips, a Boston-area native and Northern Virginia resident for the last four years, celebrated her 103rd birthday on Saturday at Sunrise Senior Living in Falls Church with the company of staff members, friends and her only son, Michael.

Showing up to her own party, fashionably late though seemingly adherent to the sounds of banter illuminated by laughter and a Broadway musical, was a gracefully fervent and immaculate woman who, says Yardena Mansoor, wife of Michael Phillips, is amazing in terms of the life lessons she taught and the service to others she was able to provide well into her 90’s.

“Through telephone and companionship, she was steadfast in offering support to other members of the family, and one who in particular is disabled,” said Mansoor.

One of the two secrets of Pauline’s long existence, the couple said, is that she has been the happiest person they know. The other secret, her son lightheartedly said, is that she’s had a boyfriend for the past 35 years that she cooked for and looked after, as he did the same for her.

“There are so many people who as they get older start focusing more on their aches and pains, past resentments and misfortunes,” said Mansoor. “I’ve never heard her refer to anything like that. She has always been positive.”

Pauline is the daughter of a Lithuanian couple who migrated to the United States years before she was born. She is the second oldest of six children who all have lived into their late ’80s and ’90s.

One of her greatest joys was seeing her two grandchildren reach adulthood. One has graduated college, while the other does the same this year.

Pauline was known as one of the first registered insurance brokers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She also galvanized the lifeline of her career by being successful at it for 40 years.

Now, she enjoys living in a home where she is able to relax while eating seafood – a diet she is most enthusiastic about – listening to musicals, and watching soccer.

Pauline starts her normal day with the rest of the Washington, D.C. area at 8:30 a.m., and takes part in the daily activities organized for Sunrise residents by Activities and Volunteer Coordinator Judy Miller.

Michael, 61, after singing happy birthday to his mother and praising how fabulous the condition her skin remained, was nostalgic of her activism in her community once upon a time ago.

“Pauline was very active in the Jewish Cultural Affairs in her community especially within an organization called Hadassah,” Michael said.

Michael revealed another secret to Pauline’s longevity in that she is an avid sleeper and goes into a deep nap in the afternoons. When she’s awake, she takes advantage of the very architectural reason they chose the Sunrise in Falls Church by merely keeping her eyes open.

“The thing we loved the most about Sunrise was that it reminded us of places in Maine that we would vacation,” Michael said. “These great sea coast Victorian mansions, that when I saw this place reminded me of one of her favorite places which were actually on the coast north of Boston where Henry Cabot Lodge’s family lived. It was called Manchester by the sea.”

At 103, Pauline holds a reserve for life that can be seen conspicuously in her eyes, which she reciprocates with her son and daughter-in-law. And it’s a life she enjoys now just as much as she did in Massachusetts, with a good plate of a fresh catch and friends to share it with.