AUBURN — Flanked by two of her three sons, Robert Roy, 85, and Norman Roy, 84, Florence Roy Dinsmore scanned the room and gazed at her family.

“She says she’s too excited to eat,” said Giselle Prevost, activities coordinator at Schooner Estates.

Dinsmore’s clan gathered Friday to celebrate a major milestone in her life: her 107th birthday.

Born Florence Lachapelle on April 2, 1906, in Bowdoin, Dinsmore may be the oldest person in Maine. According to the Vital Statistics Bureau of Maine, no such records are kept.

Born and raised on a farm, Dinsmore worked at the Libbey Mill making textiles and was an accomplished seamstress.

She drove until age 84, when she voluntarily gave up her licence. She lived alone in her Lewiston home until the age of 103, and until last year, when she moved into assisted living, she was living in a studio apartment at Schooner Estates.

“Last May, she went into the Hospice House after a major operation,” said Terry Roy, her daughter-in-law. “We all thought she wasn’t going to make it, but they kicked her out after a week because she was too well!”

The 40-year-plus cancer survivor still likes to walk outdoors in the warmer months, likes to toss balls for an hour each day, and she led the Relay For Life walk around the Edward Little track a couple of years ago.

“She was like 103 or 104 and I kept telling her she could stop at any time, but she wanted to keep going,” said her granddaughter, Annie Roy. “She went for three laps until I took her walker away. The other cancer survivors behind her heard it and thought it was such an inspiration. She’s amazing. She’s my hero.”

Dinsmore said there’s no secret to her longevity. It could be genetics: She had an older sister live to 106.

Or it could be a good night’s sleep.

“We weren’t allowed to wait up for a show at 12 o’clock,” Dinsmore recalled. “You had to be in bed by 9!”

Or it could be eating dessert. Dinsmore passed on her lunch, but relished her birthday cake.

Another daughter-in-law said Dinsmore always had an aversion to pills.

“She might have taken an aspirin every now and then, but that was it. Up until recently, she didn’t take pills,” Connie Roy said.

Whatever it is, it is working for the petite woman who promptly stuck her finger in the frosting of her cake as it was set in front of her.

“Ooh, it’s good!” she said.


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