105 YEARS — Mary Milanowski, center, with her nephew Jim Zakala and her friend Terry Stanwix who organized a birthday party for the 105-year-old. (Photo submitted)

Celebrating a ‘good life’ at 105

Published Jul 3, 2018 at 4:00pm

When Mary Milanowski was born on June 30, 1913, women in this country did not even have the right to vote.

As she celebrates her 105th birthday Saturday at her home in the Residential Health Care Facility at Rome Memorial Hospital, Mary, a staunch Republican, is not only still voting, she still campaigns for many of her party’s nominees.

Mary says she is responsible for getting out the vote for Donald Trump for many of the RHCF residents in the 2016 election. At 103, Mary put a Trump bumper sticker on the back of her wheelchair and urged her friends and neighbors to cast their vote for Trump.

Now at 105, Mary is still passionate about politics, but also is happy to talk about what she calls a “good life.”

Mary grew up in Rome. She is the only one surviving of her eight siblings, including three sisters, Pasqualine Grasso, Josephine Link and Anita Walker; and four brothers, Gabriell, Joseph, Anthony and Kenneth Mezza.  

Mary and her husband Frank Milanowski lived on South James Street for many years before moving to Elmer Hill Road on Lake Delta. Frank worked at Revere. The couple had chicken coops behind both residences where they raised chickens and sold eggs.  

Mary worked at Decker’s dress shop in Rome and later ran Kannoff’s dress shop in the old Sears plaza. Mary has fond memories of working at Kannoff’s. She explained that Mr. Kannoff saw her in town one day and said he needed her to come work for him for a little while because the women who was working for him had quit.

“I was there 33 years,” Mary laughed. “I rearranged the store and made it beautiful. We sold everything, coats, dresses, jewelry. The store did very well and I loved it.”

Mary still enjoys dressing up and putting on some jewelry every day.  

Mary’s nephew Jim Zakala, of Rome, has some wonderful memories of his dear aunt.

“Growing up I will always remember my aunt as being the nicest person ever. She was like my second mom,” Jim said. “I remember every Sunday when I was young, after Mass at Transfiguration Church, she would come over to our house for hot tea and extra sharp cheese. I never drank coffee my whole life, always still drink hot tea just like we used to.”