On most days, Viola White can be found cruising the halls at Luther Acres in Lititz.

At 101, the Ephrata native said she likes to stay active.

Vi, as she’s known, enjoyed Friday’s brisk weather with a stroll on the Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail Trail, fulfilling a dream she’s had for a while.

“It’s there to be used, and I want to use it,” she said outside the Warwick Township municipal building where she was driven to begin her walk.

White was born in February 1918 during President Woodrow Wilson’s second term in office. The fifth of 11 children, she said she married the year after graduating from high school. While she didn’t have children of her own, she said enjoyed being named godmother to her nephew’s dog.

She said her working career was spent in offices including Hamilton Equipment in Ephrata and a few years at a Washington, D.C., school for nurses.

The cheerful woman who wears brightly patterned socks every day has diverse interests and likes to keep busy.

“When she gets something on her mind, she really does enjoy it to be fulfilled,” said Jamie Snyder, an occupational therapy assistant at Luther Acres.

White recalled being able to recite the first 27 amendments to the Constitution, and she said she knew the names of all the players and coaches on her favorite football teams: Duke, Penn State, San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets.

“I have a lot of good memories,” she said. “I’m sure that’s what got me here.”

She recalled taking a cruise from Honolulu to San Diego. Even though she was seasick for the entire five-day cruise, she said what sticks in her memory is how hard she laughed when her friend said something funny.

Other good memories are of her family.

“We were poor,” she said. “I grew up during the Depression, but everybody else was poor and we didn’t know the difference.”

Once, she said, her mother discovered that a neighbor had stopped coming outside because she had nothing to wear.

“My mother said ‘I’ll fix that,’ ” she said. “Every three days for a long time, my mother took a dress down to her and brought the other one back and laundered it.”

As White pushed her walker along the tree-lined trail under a brilliant blue sky Friday, she expressed joy at fulfilling her dream.

“I looked forward to this for a long time,” she said. “Makes me happy.”


The Lititz Record wrote about White and her sister in December 2018. That story is here: Christmas ‘back in the day.’