HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Anne Finkler attributed her longevity to "faith" and "blessings" Tuesday when she celebrated her 100th birthday with friends, family and residents at the Andrus on Hudson Senior Community in Hastings.
"I have to say that God has blessed me to be able to reach 100 years," Finkler said. "I didn't do anything special, but I believe in faith and blessing others. I feel so blessed to have enjoyed all of my life."
Finkler said she has had two wonderful marriages and raised two children and enjoyed her family that includes two stepchildren, five grandchildren and seven great- grand children. But her life outside the home was dedicated to helping others.
She was born Anna Rogoff (but always used Anne) on July 30, 1913 in Bayonne, N.J. where she grew up with her three siblings. She married Ephraim Handman on July 29, 1934. The couple moved to the Bronx and raised two children, Ellen Sue and Arthur. Her husband died in 1970.
"Mom worked alongside our father (Ephraim Handman), who was a union organizer for Local #10 and then national vice president of the Postal Workers Union," her daughter, Ellen Henry, said. "She served as president of the Women’s Auxiliary Local 10 Postal Workers Union."
Finkler, a congregant at the Greenburgh Hebrew Center Synagogue in Dobbs Ferry, was a social activist during the 1940s and 50s, selling war bonds during World War II and volunteering for the PTA at her children’s school in the Bronx, where she helped create a Hanukkah program, bringing religious diversity to the school in the Christmas season.
In the 1960’s, she continued her work in unions becoming the office manager in the Sign Painters Union in New York City. After her husband died, she married sign-shop owner, Milton Finkler. In the 1970’s they retired in Florida.
Wanting to remain active, Anne began volunteering to help disabled children in a local fifth-grade classroom. Although at the time, much less was known about autism and dyslexia, she found a way to help these students learn. She contacted her stepson Peter who was a child psychologist and together they found effective teaching methods for the students.
"I moved to Florida and taught fifth-graders for 20 years," Finkler said. "I still hear from the teacher and some of the children. I loved tutoring the children."
She has lived at Andrus for the past several years where she loves to play Scrabble and spend time with friends. She was also an avid knitter and crocheter and was known for making “Mr. Nobody Dolls” which she gave as gifts. One of the “Mr. Nobody Dolls” was placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. and is now in the Smithsonian Museum.
"I believe that faith is the key to a happy life," Finkler said. "No matter what comes, I enjoy life as much as I can. This is just another wonderful day for me."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.