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Oldest Living American Turns 116: California Town Celebrates Edith Ceccarelli’s Remarkable Journey

Edith “Edie” Recagno Keenan Ceccarelli, the oldest person in the United States, is on the brink of celebrating her remarkable 116th birthday.

Residents of Willits, a small town in northern California, are preparing to honor her on this special occasion with a grand parade.

A Remarkable Milestone

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Edith Ceccarelli, known affectionately as Edie, has earned the distinction of being the second-oldest person on the planet, as recognized by the Gerontology Research Group.

Her upcoming birthday on February 5th is a testament to her remarkable longevity.

A Town’s Tradition

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The town of Willits has made it an annual tradition to celebrate Edie’s birthday, and this year will be no exception.

On Sunday, February 4th, the town will come together for a joyous parade in her honor.

Local Treasure and Celebrity

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Edie Ceccarelli holds a special place in the hearts of the Willits community, where she is regarded as a local treasure and celebrity.

The annual birthday parade is a highlight for both residents and city employees.

Diverse Participants in the Parade

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The parade will feature diverse participants, including town employees, elected officials, and representatives from the fire and police departments.

The celebration will include even the Boy Scouts, a few horses, and a well-known local dog walker.

A Special Birthday Treat

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Edie’s family has arranged for a delectable carrot cake, one of her favorites, for the celebration.

Her eyes lit up excitedly upon learning about the cake, highlighting her anticipation for this sweet treat.

Cake and Ice Cream

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The birthday festivities will include carrot cake and strawberry ice cream, another of Edie’s cherished delights.

Following this indulgence, she may take a well-deserved nap before the parade begins.

Adapting to Changing Times

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In previous years, Edie celebrated her birthdays in Willits city buildings, surrounded by well-wishers.

However, since 2021, the celebration format shifted to a drive-by parade due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheduled Car Caravan

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The car caravan is set to commence at 1 p.m. this Sunday and is expected to last approximately an hour.

Although rain is in the forecast, the parade organizers remain committed to proceeding with the celebration.

A Community Affair

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Edie Ceccarelli’s birthday has evolved into a community event, inviting the entire town to join the festivities.

Friends and well-wishers from the town and beyond come together to celebrate this extraordinary individual.

A Long, Inspirational Life

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While Edie may no longer engage in phone conversations as she once did, her ability to feed herself and her resilience is truly inspiring.

She moved to an assisted living community at 107, demonstrating her remarkable strength.

A Lifelong Californian

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Edie Ceccarelli has called northern California her home throughout her life, with ties to Eureka, Ukiah, and Santa Rosa.

Her parents, immigrants from Italy, settled in Willits in the early 1900s.

A Local Fixture

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Edie’s presence and history in Willits hold significant meaning for the town.

Delores Pedersen, the town clerk, fondly remembers Edie coming in to pay her water bill nearly two decades ago when she worked at city hall.

A Life of Hard Work

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Growing up as the eldest of seven children, Edie and her siblings contributed to the family income by taking on various odd jobs, including potato digging in the valley.

The days were characterized by hard work and self-sufficiency.

An Elegant Sense of Style

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Edie was known for her impeccable sense of fashion in her later years.

She would frequently be seen around town donning elegant hats, gloves, jewelry, and perfectly applied makeup, maintaining her style well into her centenary years.

Family and Heritage

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Edie’s first husband worked as a typesetter at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, a newspaper published today.

Together, they had one daughter and three granddaughters, leaving a lasting family legacy.

Enjoying Life to the Fullest

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Edie found joy in dancing, cooking, gardening, and leisurely walks throughout her adult life.

Her life was marked by happiness and fulfillment, leaving an enduring impact on those who knew her.

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