Centenarian, family celebrate birthday

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Simone “Mona” Vincent definitely earned those flowers. After all, not everyone lives to be 100 years old. (Courtesy photo)

SANDPOINT — Hearthstone Village Assisted Living has another centenarian among its residents.

Friends and family of Simone “Mona” Vincent gathered Friday in Bonner County to celebrate the matriarch’s 100th birthday. The family is splitting the celebration over two days, with Friday party at the assisted living home and a private family gathering today. She may be 100 years old, but that hasn’t slowed her down one bit, according to great-granddaughter Jessica Benner.

“Mona hasn’t aged a day for about 20 years,” she said. “We have the photos for proof.”  

Friday was a smaller celebration for Vincent and her family, but it allowed Hearthstone Village staff and fellow residents a chance to take part in the festivities. The party was packed with well-wishers, and facility staff served up special treats to commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

“The party was excellent,” Benner said. “We had homemade angel food cake, and she received a beautiful bouquet of roses and lilies from her stepson Jerry Vincent of Arizona.”

The event was about as multi-generational as a person could hope to experience. Her daughter Elaine Farrar and son-in-law Don Farrar were in attendance, as was her grandson Mike Thurmond, Benner and her great-great-grandson Noah Benner.

Today stands to be an even bigger birthday bash as more than 50 close family members plan to be in attendance. The party stands to be a large-scale and entertaining event, with Vincent’s favorite dish, prime rib, as well as ham ready for dinner.

The celebration is well-warranted after a long and vibrant life. Vincent was born Dec. 15, 1912, in Ronsa, Belgium, before emigrating to the U.S. at seven years old. In 1956, she married her husband, Cecil Vincent, and in 1974, she moved to Bonner County, where they purchased and managed the Westmond Store until retirement. Throughout her life, Mona Vincent has enjoyed several hobbies like traveling, playing games, crocheting, gardening and of course, plenty of good, old-fashioned family time.

“She also makes the best loaf of bread ever,” Benner said.

For family members, her life is a wealth of history and fascinating detail. According to Benner, her stories are the sort that could only come from 100 years of experience.

“Mona has amazing stories that date back to citizenship and working in beet fields,” Benner said. “She religiously remembers every detail. Her life is a legend of one century.”

Perhaps her most enduring legacy, however, is the one carried on by her extended family.

“She has lived as a very devoted Catholic and always made sure her family came first,” Benner said. “We are all who we are today because of the influence she had on us.”

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