Ogdensburg resident, 111, is oldest person in New York

OGDENSBURG — To say that Beulah Meloche is special is an understatement.

At the age of 111, Meloche was feted Friday as the oldest person in New York state.

A resident of the United Helpers RiverLedge facility in Ogdensburg, she is one of a small number of people categorized as “supercentenarians.” The term signifies someone who has attained or passed the age of 110.

Meloche was born Nov. 23, 1906, in Chazy. It was a year when the White House was occupied by Theodore Roosevelt, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in San Francisco killed 3,000 and the Ford Motor Company began selling its Model N car for $500.

Thomas R. Neddo, 83, Ms. Meloche’s nephew, traveled from Fort Ann to attend Friday’s ceremony in Ogdensburg. Mr. Neddo said he had not seen his aunt, his mother’s sister, since he was 4.

“I don’t know what to expect,” the retired dairy farmer said prior to their meeting. “It’s been so long.”

Later, when the supercentenarian and the octogenarian embraced, Mr. Neddo had tears in his eyes.

“Do you remember Matty? Your sister?” Mr. Neddo asked as he held his aunt’s hand. “I’m Tom. Matilda was my mother.”

Age has robbed Ms. Meloche of her ability to speak clearly, but as she clutched her nephew’s hand she murmured yes, and nodded softly.

Meloche was honored with proclamations from State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, and Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, during the ceremony.

Gifts included Pepsi Cola and chocolate, two of her favorite treats. The Hershey chocolate factory in Pennsylvania sent a large box of candy bars to mark the occasion, enough for every resident of the nursing home, according to officials.

Meloche became a resident of the facility when she was 104.

“Can you imagine making it to 104 before you go to a nursing home?” quipped United Helpers communications director Benny Fairchild.

Likewise, RiverLedge Administrator Timothy Parsons joked that the facility’s oldest resident didn’t start “showing her age” until she was about 109.

United Helpers Management Company CEO Stephen E. Knight was also at Friday’s ceremony. He said staff at the nursing home where Ms. Meloche resides feel privileged to be part of her life.

“I hear so many incredible things about who she is as a human being,” Knight said. “And that’s really what it’s all about. She is a good human being and our staff respond to that. They buy her presents, they know what she likes. She loves jewelry and she loves to be dressed up. They are good to her here and that makes me feel good when I hear that.”

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