A century of life

Three members of the Fritz Reuter Altenheim Continuous Care Home who are 100 or older celebrated their birthdays on Wednesday.

Emilie Gehrau and Richard Snyder turned 102 recently, while Julia Betz reached her 100th birthday.

Gehrau and Betz were both born in Germany, while Snyder is a lifelong Hudson County resident.

Snyder was grateful for the Altenheim’s existence during his celebratory toast.

“Thanks to Fritz Reuter for establishing this fine home, and he did it for the sick and homeless German immigrants,” said Snyder, whose birthday will be on Aug. 17.

Catherine Keens, Snyder’s cousin, said that Snyder donated a garden pavilion a few months back that should hopefully be constructed during the fall.

Synder said that he ran a real estate business on 32nd and Bergenline in Union City for 75 years.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” said Snyder.

Keens added, “Alive and with his mind.”

A milestone

Betz, along with her relatives Maryann Hinrichsen and Georgina Rosenblatta, were in attendance to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Rosenblatta thought that the party with other residents from the home was very nicely done. Altenheim throws various parties every month, and always celebrates those 100 and older.

“You can make it in our home,” said Altenheim President Johann Waizenegger. Rosenblatta said that her great aunt, whose birthday was Aug. 6, lived on her own up until two years ago.

She thought it was amazing that Betz got to witness so many changes in history. She was alive when women received the right to vote, the invention of cars, and both world wars.

“It’s amazing when you think about it,” said Rosenblatta.

Betz is the first person in their family to live past 100 years old. Hinrichsen said that her aunt may just be middle aged, considering how healthy she is. She said Betz gives her hope for longevity in her life.

When asked if she felt wise from being witness to so much history, Betz modestly said no.

“You just get old,” said Betz.

Mayor gives proclamations

Mayor Nicholas Sacco was in attendance at the birthday party to honor the three individuals.

He said that the leadership at the Altenheimer was top-notch and that residents were outstanding members of the community.

“[Continuous care employees] go out of their way to make life a little more happy for us,” said Snyder.

Sacco said that the residents who have such longevity have given so much to their country and North Bergen.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Sacco. “This is one of the oldest and most recognized organizations in the community, and it’s a very integral part. The people here are very well cared for, and it’s really a wonderful place to live.”

Sacco continued, “I’m very happy to honor people who are 100 years or older.”


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