CHELSEA – Eleanor Karp, a much beloved resident of the Leonard Florence Center for Living, turned 107 on Sept. 1. Wearing a festive tiara, Eleanor celebrated this milestone day with family, friends, residents, and staff at a socially distanced party.
Born on Sept. 1, 1914, in Dorchester, Eleanor was the youngest of three. She loved school, dancing, and socializing with her many friends. In fact, Eleanor met her husband, Henry Karp, through her girlfriend, who ultimately turned out to be her sister-in-law. It was love at first sight. Eleanor and Henry married on June 26, 1938.
Before starting a family, Eleanor worked at Schrafft’s, the candy company in Charlestown. After her sons, Michael and Harvey, were born, Eleanor devoted her time to running the household. Celebrations played a huge role in their lives.
“The Jewish holidays were legendary in our house,” said son Harvey Karp. “We had at least 30 people, with the tables extending into three rooms. My mom is an amazing cook. Her brisket, matzah ball soup, gefilte fish, and stuffed knadles were the best I have ever eaten. She even made her own horseradish!”
Eleanor and Henry lived in Everett and Malden for most of their married life. They led an active social life, frequently entertaining friends and family. Henry was one of eight siblings – four boys and four girls –and Eleanor was extremely close to all of them. She organized huge family outings every summer. Eleanor and Henry were married for 46 wonderful years. Sadly, Henry passed away in 1984 at the age of 74.
In 2010, Eleanor moved from the Jack Satter House in Revere to Cohen Florence Levine Estates Assisted Living in Chelsea. Both staff and residents adored her. She loved the bus trips and visits to area restaurants, especially Jimmy’s Steakhouse, The Continental, and Kowloon. Meals in the dining room at Cohen Florence Levine Estates were the highlight of her day.
Adored by her children, son Harvey and wife Jeanne, and son Michael and wife Charlene, Eleanor cherishes her four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She presides over the family with love, warmth, and humor.
“Eleanor is a truly remarkable woman,” said daughter-in-law Jeanne Karp. “She is generous, loving, sharp, and fun to be around. Actually, I can’t imagine having a better mother-in-law.”
“Eleanor brings a sense of warmth to everyone she comes into contact with,” said Jimy Aguilar, recreation program director at the Leonard Florence Center for Living. Aguilar described Eleanor as always smiling and full of life. As he puts it, “She certainly is opinionated and well-informed, but so very respectful to everyone. Truthfully, it is a pleasure to be around her.”
When asked the secret to living such a long life, Eleanor was quick to respond. “Whoever would have expected me to live to 107?” she asked. “But yet here I am!”
Harvey and Jeanne Karp are thrilled Eleanor is a resident at the Leonard Florence Center for Living. “We feel extremely fortunate she is living in such a beautiful building with a private room and bath, but even more importantly, we are deeply grateful to the incredible staff at the center,” said Jeanne Karp. “They genuinely care about her.”
Notably, the Leonard Florence Center for Living marked another milestone birthday on Sept. 18, when resident Rose Pugliese turned 105. “It’s heartwarming to see these centenarians living life to the fullest,” commented Aguilar. “Longevity is in the air!”