Locally, Woodhaven Boulevard was still known as Woodhaven Avenue and was just a two-lane dirt road. The construction of the elevated train along Jamaica Avenue was underway and just a year from completion. And adults paid 10 cents to get into the Manor Theater where the two big hits of 1915 were Charlie Chaplin’s “The Tramp” and D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.”
And it was in 1915 that Agnes Hussy was born in East New York. At the age of 10, Agnes and her family moved to Woodhaven, where she resided for 90 more years before moving to a nursing home earlier this year.
Last week, friends of Hussy gathered at Monsignor Mulz Hall, where they celebrated her 100th birthday. Students from St. Thomas the Apostle Academy presented her with birthday cards and a giant cake was shared by everyone in attendance.
The room serenaded her with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and Father Frank Tumino of St. Thomas the Apostle, the parish that Hussy was a member of almost her entire life, held her hand as they blew out the candles together.
“The people of this parish have always been very loving,” Hussy said.
“She’s lived a good life, and she continues to live a good life,” said Fr. Tumino. “She’s very connected to God. Her faith is very strong. She’s an inspiration to everyone who knows her.”
At St. Thomas the Apostle she was involved in the daily parish ministries and attended mass daily, a habit she continues even now in the nursing home.
“She’s just a wonderful person, very lovable, kind and considerate,” said longtime friend Grace Frey. “She had lots of interests. For instance, one of her big interests was bird watching. She is very well-read, and she loved to travel.”
Indeed, Hussy has traveled most of the world visiting far-off countries, such as Australia and Russia. And she was traveling up until recently, taking a trip to Alaska just a few years ago.
“She’s a great person, a very charitable lady” said another longtime friend, Ellen Driscoll. “With Agnes, it’s always about somebody else, how she could help others. I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.”
Sure enough, as people were waiting in line to wish Hussy happy birthday, she wanted to make sure that everyone received a piece of cake.
It’s such a remarkable achievement, reaching 100 years of age. I asked her two closest friends what they thought Hussy's secret to a long life was.
“She took care of her body,” said Frey. “She didn’t eat junk food. She went to the doctor when she wasn’t feeling well.
“She always did the right thing,” she added. “And she also did a lot of work for the church. I think that keeping busy helped quite a bit.”
“I think her positive outlook on life helped her a great deal,” Driscoll said. “Taking what God gives you and trying to help people and always looking at the good side of things.”
Hussy spent her life showing love and consideration for others and it was wonderful to see so many of her friends come out and return those affections on the occasion of her 100th birthday.
From all of Woodhaven to you Agnes, Happy Birthday!