Lina Schaefer, left, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday, interacts with her great-granddaughter Kendall Landry, who marked her 16th birthday on the same day. (Bea Lewis/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilford family's four generations fete Lina Schaefer
By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Lina Schaefer was 6 months old when the first wave of doughboys crossed the Atlantic to join the Allies and face the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungry.
On Saturday, she celebrated her 100th birthday with her extended family that included nine grandchildren and one great grandchild, who traveled from as far north as Canada and as far south as Connecticut to mark the milestone.
While Schaefer has obviously won the genetic lottery – she's outlived three husbands – she credits eating healthy food coupled with maintaining strong friendships with family and friends as helping her stay healthy and spry.
Family members said she was a wonderful cook, making everything from scratch and an especially talented baker. Loraine Borelli of Cambridge, Massachusetts, said her mother was born on Oct. 16, 1916, in Inkerman, New Brunswick, Canada.
"She made wonderful birthday cakes," said Kathy, of Colchester, Connecticut, who married Lina's son, Laurent Landry.
Following her marriage to Maxime Landry, Lina had fraternal twins Laurent and Lorraine, and then a son, Roger. The family initially moved to Montreal, and then Rhode Island. In 1952, they relocated to Lincoln, New Hampshire, where her husband worked as a millwright, making paper until his death in 1965.
"We all spoke French before we spoke English," said Roger, of Wells, Maine, whose wife, Pam, organized Saturday's festivities held at Pheasant Ridge Country Club in Gilford.
The couple's five children, Nick, Stacey, Bill, Angie and David, were among the guests. Lorraine and her husband, Vincent, added two more grandchildren to Lina's roster, Joseph and Anthony. And Laurent and Kathy, who contributed two more, Stephanie and Christopher.
After his father's death, Roger Landry, said his mother who had never worked outside the home, took up waitressing. She also found love for a second time and married Lyman Ware.
"She was always frugal and taught us to save money. We we're a moderate income family but she made sure we never wanted foranything," her youngest son said.
Laurent's wife, Kathy, said her mother-in-law was known for her needlework.
"She was an excellent seamstress and made her own patterns. She made beautiful cable-knit sweaters and crocheted."
Following her second husband's death, she found a third life partner and shared some 30 years of marriage with John Schaefer until he passed away at age 97. For the past three years, Lina has lived at Forest View Manor in Meredith.
Stephanie Barrett, recounted that her daughter, Kendall, is Lina's great-granddaughter and was also born on Oct. 16. But while Kendall celebrated sweet sixteen on Sunday, Schaefer was entering the centenarian club.