New Bedford’s Grandmother Passes Away [PHIL-OSOPHY]
New Bedford's oldest resident and one of America's 40 supercentenarians passed quietly today. She was 110 and would have turned 111 years old on December 28.
Celebrating her 11 decades of life, Irene Miller was the center of attention last December when she was regaled by celebrities, sports teams and politicians, but perhaps the most touching to her were the 3,500 folks from around the country and the globe who sent her a Happy Birthday card.
Shirley Antil, the former Active Day Director who helped orchestrate a gala celebration for her, said Irene was someone who loved life and was hardly ever unhappy. Up until recently, she exercised daily and could do the shimmy better than younger folks. At night, Irene would drink a three-finger shot of Canadian Whiskey to sleep. She was quite happy when New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell included a bottle of Canadian Mist in with a multitude of gifts from the people of the city she called home all her life.
Her story could be the backdrop of a perfect love story, falling in love and marrying her first boyfriend. At one time, she was the buyer for Saltmarsh's in downtown New Bedford.
Irene Miller loved the Red Sox. She was four years old when the Red Sox won their second World Series in 1912. When the team heard about Irene's celebration, they brought the 2018 World Series Trophy to the Neediest Families Prize-a-Palooza in Fairhaven so she could hold it.
Irene was honored by many sports organizations, including the Boston Bruins, the Celtics and the Pawtucket Red Sox. WBSM personalities Barry Richard, Chris McCarthy, Tim Weisberg and I surprised Irene with mementos from the White House.
President Donald Trump sent Irene personal commendations and warmest wishes. Governor Charlie Baker, the U.S. Congressional delegation, all the local state delegation as well as Sheriff Tom Hodgson, former Mayor Scott Lang and all the city councilors and more presented Irene with proclamations in honor of her long life.
She became "everybody's grandmother" and the center of attention with the media, getting local, statewide and national coverage. Her special story went coast-to-coast. Dignitaries, local and nationally, are revering Irene Miller's life. May her memory be a blessing forever.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.