Grand gala for centurion who believes in moderation

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Once the heart-warming applause that echoed through the posh dining/sitting room at Briarcliffe Gardens subsided, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said, with excitement ringing in his up-beat tone of voice: “Congratulations Olga; there are plenty of reasons to celebrate your marvelous milestone today!”

Polisena, in fact, headlined the many family members, staffers, friends and relatives who showed up at Briarcliffe Gardens last Thursday to honor Olga Napleoni Rozzero on her 100th birthday.

Perhaps the vintage birthday bash, which featured a delicious lunch, music, special speeches and an Official Town of Johnston Commendation from Polisena, was a celebration of Olga’s entire life of a complete century that began back on October 4, 1918.

Olga was born to Sebilglia and Angela Napleoni of East Providence back in 1918. She had one brother and four sisters and enjoyed her long life both here in the United States as well as in Italy then back to Rhode Island many years later.

When she was only a year old, in fact, Olga returned to Italy with her mother Sebilglia and was raised in the village of Trevi nel Lazio in the Province of Frosinone, Lazio Region of Italy.

Olga and her mother returned to the United States – by ship – some years later and married Antonio Rozzero.

Thus, Olga and Antonio settled, as her life’s story unfolded many moons ago, on Elwyn Street in Cranston where she became a parishioner at the former St. Ann’s Church – now St. George’s Maronite Catholic Church.

Not only did Briarcliffe Gardens hold a gala birthday party, as Polisena told her many family members and friends: “Today we celebrate the 100th birthday of a wonderful woman who we should also applaud for her extraordinary working career.”

As Stefany Reed, Marketing Director at Briarcliffe Gardens said “Olga was employed by the Imperial Knife Company that was based in Providence for 42 years.”

Moreover, in honor of her mighty milestone, the Briarcliffe Gardens Program staff developed a special theme especially for Olga’s 100th Birthday Party.

The spacious, state of the area dining-living room area was a sea of pink, fascia, pearly white and gold and as Reed so aptly noted: “Our great staff even bought her a new outfit for her big day.”

“This is without question a party for the record book,” several Briarcliffe Garden staffers said while listening to singer/musician Bill Reidy play his guitar especially when it came time for the cake and the ageless “Happy Birthday to You” song. “Those gold numbers really tell the story.”

Not only were there mega decorations, the ones that especially stood out were the numbers 1-0-0 done in inflatable balloons that were attached to different colored ribbons and attached to floral centerpieces on two table tops.

Of course, as Reed later mused: “No birthday party would be complete with a special lunch and/or dinner.”

So, the culinary staff at Briarcliffe Gardens prepared a lunch of Olga’s favorite foods, baked ziti with marinara sauce, sweet potatoes seasoned with Rosemary/Garlic and an Italian salad that was followed by a delicious dessert – a.k.a. Olga’s favorite Chiffon cake.

When asked about her secret of living to age 100, she says: “Everything in moderation.”

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