At one hundred years young, Gloria Ezzie knows a thing or two about what makes a great life.
Spend just a few minutes with Gloria Ezzie and you’ll be basking in her positive glow, counting the many blessings in life, and marveling at how a single conversation could be so inspiring. At one hundred years young, Gloria is embracing all that life has to offer. It seems she always has.
In the beginning, there was family.
The year was 1921. Warren Harding was president. Air conditioning and telephones were luxuries that not everyone could afford. It cost 7 cents to go to the movies. If you wanted a movie with sound, well, that didn’t exist yet. This was the world that welcomed Gloria Ezzie (née DiFrancesco) on August 23.
Gloria was born in Pennsylvania, the same year that the first radio baseball game was broadcast. Perhaps it was no coincidence that the broadcast pitted her beloved Phillies against the Pirates. (A lifetime Phillies fan, even today, she doesn’t miss a game.)
Those early years were filled with joy as she and her siblings grew up in Philadelphia. Gloria was the third born in a family of four girls and two boys. Some of her favorite childhood memories revolved around her summers at her grandmother’s home in Coatesville, Pa. “I spent every summer there until I was almost 18,” she recalls. “I loved going there. We went bowling and dancing. We played pinochle. My father taught me how to play. He was very, very good at pinochle.”
Then came a loving marriage, kids and career.
Gloria met Michael Ezzie at the movies. It was love at first sight and the pair soon became an item. She taught Michael to dance, which came in handy at their wedding. They moved to the suburbs and raised a beautiful family. The kids, Michael, Linda, and Donna, are among Gloria’s greatest blessings.
Michael was a supportive husband, and so when Gloria expressed a desire to become a hairdresser, he stood by her. She went to night school to get her credentials. “I didn’t care for office work,” she explained, “but I loved hairdressing.” A beautician for 36 years, Gloria still maintains her own perfectly coifed look.
Faith and community were at the heart of everything Gloria did.
In the 1960s, Gloria and Michael bought a house in Brigantine, NJ. Eventually, they moved there full-time. Her active life continued with bowling, bocci, and community service. She spent 12 years volunteering at the Brigantine Senior Center. “We would sell 50-50 tickets and make enough money to throw the seniors a beautiful Christmas party,” she recalled.
A devout Catholic, she attended Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in Brigantine. She still says the rosary every day. “I have always celebrated life and prayed for family, friends and colleagues,” she said.
Gloria lost her husband to colon cancer in 1988, but continues to count her blessings. “The most important events of my life were a beautiful marriage, loving children, 9 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren,” she said. “With age comes the realization that you can change some things but many times it’s up to God.”
When it was time to move again, Gloria chose Seashore Housing.
Gloria moved into Seashore Housing on June 15, 2012. “I couldn’t drive. I had a lot of friends doing my shopping for me. I decided it was time,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier about that decision.”
She loves the close-knit community of tenants and staff, and frequently plays Bingo, card games and the tile-based game, Rummikub. She listens to music from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, especially her favorite song, “Glory of Love” by Jimmy Durante. She also follows the Phillies, as she has for the last 40 years. “I love them no matter how they do,” she declared. She maintains her faith and receives communion from Seton Church every Sunday.
“The past 10 years leading up to my 100th birthday and living at Seashore Housing were more beautiful than I ever could have imagined,” said Gloria. “Living at Seashore Housing was a blessing for not just me but for my family who knew I was surrounded by wonderful friends and staff who truly cared.”
On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Gloria shares some personal wisdom:
- I have lived during many of America’s greatest and most tragic events. Most of my generation share the gift of wisdom that comes from life. The good and bad experiences sprinkled with great blessings make us who we are and how we live.
- When you see old folks like me, remember that behind their fading eyes are memories of the most important events of modern mankind. Those memories include a depression, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and the Middle East conflicts. The wars took the lives of hundreds of thousands of mostly young men and women which was tragic.
- If I had any advice that someone could take away from my life, it would be to brush the bad times off your shoulders and look forward to something wonderful that may just wait for you around the corner.
Happy 100th birthday to Gloria Ezzie!
Seashore Elder Housing, LP offers an affordable, independent living option for individuals ages 55+, and for people with special needs. Seashore Housing features 58 residences in a modern apartment complex located on the scenic campus of Seashore Gardens Living Center. In order to reside at Seashore Housing, tenants must be income qualified. For more information, visit https://seashoregardens.org/services/independent-housing.