Mayor Jim Kenney proclaimed May 18 as Centenarians Celebration Day in Philadelphia as part of a national observance of Older Americans Month in May.
Barnetta Williams, 109, from the Northeast, and Eli P. Zebooker, 104, from Society Hill, were among about 110 of the city’s centenarians who took part in a 17th annual celebratory luncheon at SugarHouse Casino. There are 550 known city residents who have reached age 100 or will reach age 100 this year.
Williams was the oldest person in attendance. Born in Alabama, she is the youngest of nine siblings and is a passionate cook and needlework crafter. She was a beautician and owned a livestock farm in Alabama. Last year, she moved to Mayfair to live with her great-granddaughter Darlene Callands. Williams will turn 110 in October.
Zebooker, a South Philadelphia native, was the oldest man at last week’s celebration. He is a retired dentist who practiced in Center City. He remains an avid reader of history and a collector of rare Philadelphia maps, prints and books. He is a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. He and his wife Janet have been married for 70 years. ••