Brookfield honors Gwen Snitko for her 100 years

Jan. 14, 2014

Turning 100 on Jan. 8, Gwen Snitko said she felt 60.

"I didn't think about it at all," she said of her birthday, celebrated at her Brookfield home, the Lighthouse of Brookfield.

But she quickly became aware as family surrounded her, and Mayor Steve Ponto issued a proclamation congratulating her on becoming a centenarian.

"Oh, that's very wonderful," she said as Ponto handed her a certificate.

Snitko said she attributes her good health to years spent as a professional dancer, traveling throughout North America. She still does her warm-ups.

Born in 1914, just six months before World War I began, Snitko lived through both World Wars, the Great Depression and many personal hardships, like losing her first husband when her son, Gary Lavann, was 3.

Lavann said he thinks she has remained healthy so long by keeping herself busy with things she loves — "and hopefully good genes."

In addition to dancing, Snitko worked for Sears Corp. for 18 years, and volunteered as a foster grandmother at Ethan Allen School for more than 25 years. She has two children, five grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

"She has shown me just to try to be as good a person as you can and stay healthy," Lavann said.

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