Talk about celebrating your birthday in a big way.

When Bethel Park resident Jean Benson turned 101 on Oct. 4, the occasion happened to coincide with the 15th annual 90+ Club Luncheon. The event drew local nonagenarians and centenarians, plus their guests, totaling more than 100 people at the Bethel Park Community Center.

Mortons

Cliff and Joan Morton

“And they just love it,” Cliff Morton said as he got ready to greet visitors.

The former Bethel Park mayor, who has three-plus years to go before he is 90, initiated the event while he was in office.

“This is a way of honoring them and saying, ‘Hey, we know you’re something special,’ along with the Gold Card Club,” his wife, Joan, said, referencing the longstanding recreation department social and fellowship group for Bethel Park residents 60 and older.

Today, Jack Allen continues the mayoral tradition of sponsoring the event, along with the municipality, with secretary Janet Davin contributing significantly to making the event a success.

LaVerne McConnell

LaVerne McConnell

Members of the Ruthfred Acres Women’s Club and women from American Legion Post 760 also helped make sure everything ran smoothly, and some even are at an age to qualify as luncheon guests.

Ruthfred Acres member LaVerne McConnell, for instance, is 91, and volunteering for the event is right in line with her overall approach to life.

“Our schedule is so full,” she said about her and her friends’ involvement in a variety of social and philanthropic activities. “It always involves eating, though, so I’m never going to lose an ounce. But they’re all for good causes.”

The 90+ Club Luncheon received donations from local businesses: cookies by Bethel Bakery, flowers from Jim Jenkins Garden Center, ice cream by Dairy Queen and raffle prizes by the municipality. Ma and Pop’s Country Kitchen catered the meal featuring turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.

Jack Allen and Earl Brown

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Bethel Park Mayor Jack Allen greets guest Earl Brown.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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