Centurion Julia Michelotti attributes her long life to “laughing, praying, not smoking and not drinking.”
Family and friends said the 100-year-old Trophy Club resident also credits dining regularly on sauerkraut and cream of chicken soup.
Appropriately, more than 100 people — 170 to be exact — gathered Jan. 21 at Roanoke Community Center to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Michelotti’s only child, daughter Julie Galloway, praised her mother, saying, “She’s the perfect mom, the perfect grandmother and the perfect great-grandmother. She’s just a good woman.”
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Among the well-wishers were Trophy Club Mayor Nick Sanders and Roanoke Mayor Scooter Gierisch, who both kissed her on the cheek during the celebration. Trophy Club declared Jan. 21 as Julia Michelotti day and Roanoke also issued a proclamation in her honor.
State Rep. Tan Parker requested a flag be flown over the Capitol in Austin on her birthday with plans for her to receive the flag later. The flag was a testament, the crowd was told, to what the centurion has seen over 100 years and her “family values.”
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, also issued a proclamation honoring Michelotti.
In addition to family and friends, including representatives of Metroport Meals on Wheels who sponsored the luncheon, the day included lunch, a cake, lots of flowers and an Elvis impersonator.
The highlight was everyone singing happy birthday.
“It was a perfect day,” said granddaughter Joan Galloway, 43, who used her grandmother’s 100th birthday as a way to finagle an earlier flight from Nottingham, N.H.
Michelotti was born on Jan. 21, 1915, in Iowa to Anna and Frank Cihak, who immigrated from Czechoslovakia.
She married Rudolph Nekola in June 1941. They had a daughter before he died at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II in 1944. He was killed by German artillery for which he received the Silver Star for gallantry. He also received a Purple Heart.
She remarried after 15 years to Frank Michelotti, waiting to marry again because she “didn’t want another man to raise her daughter.”
Over the years, Michelotti worked as a data entry clerk at a car dealership and as a “school cafeteria lady,” family members said.
Now a widow, the mother of two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren — Jacob, 13, Nicolas, 10, and Megan, 8 — lives with her daughter in Trophy Club where she cooks all her own meals and “makes the best pumpkin pies ever,” said grandson Joe Galloway, 46, of Flower Mound.
She is active at the center, and participates in exercise classes. Her hobbies include cooking, crocheting and reading. She wears bling on her jeans, especially when she goes to casinos to play the penny slots.
“She loves to go gambling with us,” said friend Amber Angel who was at the birthday party with her husband Ronnie, director of Roanoke Parks and Recreation, and their 4-week-old daughter Elizabeth.
Daughter Julie Galloway, who was there with her husband Jim, said it was a day to remember.
“It’s awesome. It’s huge,” said Galloway, 71. “I also think it’s really sweet and kind.”