Sophie Silverman celebrates a century

— Photo by Betsy Burmeister

Friends and family of Sophie Silverman gathered last Saturday at Windemere to celebrate a very special milestone. The outgoing Ms. Silverman turned 100 on November 9. She was feted with a party featuring catered hors d’oeuvres, prosecco, and cake in the facility’s function room. About 25 people attended, including some out-of-town relatives.

The party was planned by Ms. Silverman’s daughter and son-in-law, Christine and Philip Williams, of Chilmark. Ms. Silverman moved to the Vineyard from California in 2004 to be closer to her only surviving child, Christine. She lived in Woodside Village before moving into Windemere a couple of years ago.

One of five children, Ms. Silverman was born in Boston in 1912 to Russian immigrant parents. Two of her brothers had a close call when they missed their reservation on the Titanic. Her oldest brother fought in World War I. Ms. Silverman’s sister, Olga Ridel of Dedham, is 102.

Married twice, Ms. Silverman moved from Hingham to California at the age of 76, ten years after her second husband died. The move, which she made on her own, was precipitated by a desire to become part of the Russian orthodox church community in Santa Rosa. She was very involved in the church and her faith has always been a big part of her life. The bishop of her California church visits her yearly on the Vineyard to give her communion.

During her time in Massachusetts, Ms. Silverman worked for S.S. Pierce as a secretary and bookkeeper and later volunteered at South Shore hospital for many years.

Ms. Silverman has travelled extensively throughout her life. She and her daughter enjoyed a trip to Russia in 1999. At the age of 87, she was still able to walk around a good deal and see the sites — the cathedral at St. Petersburg being a favorite.

Even during her later years, Ms. Silverman was an avid walker, completing two miles a day up until fairly recently. She still gets around the Windemere facility with her walker as much as possible. Lively, engaged and energetic, she is popular among the Windemere staff and other residents.

At the party Ms. Williams thanked a number of people who have been involved with her mother in one way or another during her time here and then shared highlights from her mother’s history. She spoke proudly of the qualities of her mother that she admired most, including her courage and sense of independence.

When the party ended, no one was at all surprised that the guest of honor was the last to leave.