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Riverbend Retirement Celebrates 109-year-old Resident’s Birthday with Parade

KUTTA, KY–Centenarian Ruth Evelyn Harrington of Kuttawa celebrated her 109th birthday today with a parade in the western Kentucky town she has called home for nearly 70 years. Born in 1911, Harrington has survived two world wars, 17 American presidents, Prohibition, and now, two global pandemics.

Community members, friends and family coordinated a parade past her home at River’s Bend Retirement Community in Lyon Co. Harrington was all smiles under her protective face mask, waving at every one of the nearly 40 vehicles as they drove by including fire trucks adorned with pink balloons, mayors of three nearby towns, and loved ones with noisemakers and signs.

News of the parade quickly spread through local news outlets and hundreds of shared posts on social media rallying the community to wish Harrington a happy birthday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the celebration took additional precautions to ensure Harrington’s health and safety was protected. Parade participants from all over western Kentucky celebrated Harrington at a safe social distance for her landmark birthday. The caravan lined up at nearby Kuttawa First Baptist Church and traveled past River’s Bend Retirement Community where Harrington waited outside.

Ruth Evelyn Harrington was born May 6, 1911 on a farm in Tennessee. She married her late husband Paul in 1927 with whom she had seven children. She and her husband moved to Kentucky in the 1950s and opened popular Calvert Drive-In in 1953. The drive-in movie theater has been operated by her family for four generations and is known for serving the best burgers in the area. Ruth’s family includes eight grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, 11 great-great-grandchildren and three great-great-great-grandchildren, most of which live in the western Kentucky area and participated in the parade.

“Fewer than one percent of Americans live to be 100 and we’re honored to celebrate Ruth, who is our oldest resident at River’s Bend,” said River’s Bend administrator Stacey Bullock. “She has been looking forward to this all week, so we’re thrilled to celebrate her birthday while ensuring she continues to have a long and happy life.”

River’s Bend Retirement Community is located near Lake Barkley in western Kentucky and offers assisted living, skilled nursing, home health, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services.

More fun facts about centenarians:

  • Anyone over 100 years old is called a centenarian. Anyone over 110 is referred to as a supercentenarian.
  • The 2010 U.S. Census estimated there were 53,364 Americans over 100 years of age, which was .0173% of the population.
  • Of the oldest people to ever live, 94 out of the top 100 have been women.
  • The oldest living Kentuckian is believed to be Goldie Conn in Prestonsburg, who is 110 years old. She will be 111 on July 12.
  • The longest living Kentuckian was Mary Anna Boone of Leitchfield, who was 114 when she died in 2001.
  • The current oldest living American is believed to be Hester Ford in North Carolina, who is 114 years old.
  • The longest living American was a Pennsylvania woman named Sarah Knauss, who was 119 years and 97 days old when she died in 1999.