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Cape’s newest centenarian stays very active

By Staff | Jun 29, 2017

Some who showed up in the Egret Room at Gulf Coast Village on Wednesday for the 100th birthday celebration of Ruth Cable likely walked past her.

Cable isn’t that frail person some might associate with someone who makes that magic age. She has dark brown hair, gets around well with the help of a walker and exercises every day, while keeping her mind sharp by continuing to learn new things.

Those who do know her came to celebrate her milestone, including family and visitors ranging in age from 7 to 97.

Cable said she thought 100 “was just a number, but now it’s my number.”

Cable seems to know the secret to longevity just by talking with her. She’s always upbeat, happy and keeps herself going.

“I’ve had a wonderful life. I’m enjoying myself and exercise every day and I keep very busy,” Cable said. “I enjoy people and being with them. I have a nice family and wonderful friends. It’s unbelievable.”

Cable was born in Detroit and moved to Johnstown, Penn., put herself through college and taught special education in school for 28 years.

Even years later, she hears back from them, including the grandchild of a former student she taught in first grade. That student called that morning to wish her a happy birthday, as did another, who is now 67 and living in Chicago.

She later moved to Hinsdale, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, before she and her husband, Bob, retired to Cape Coral in 1982. They were together until he passed away in 2005.

Cable lived alone for about five years with the help of good friends, including Pastor Tom Hafer, who later invited her to live in their family’s home, where she stayed for several years until the small children grew up, resulting in her being left along too much.

“I’m not surprised she’s 100. She was spry going into her 90s and she’s still spry and still fools people. They think she’s in her 80s,” Hafer said. “She has a commitment to the community. When that becomes your focus. Aches and pains aren’t the focus anymore.”

She came to Gulf Coast Village in 2014, where she is an important part of a village, regularly assisting the Village Chapel with folding church bulletins and also contributing her time to support various community activities.

She also takes numerous exercise classes every week and has learned lots of Spanish and even Japanese from those Tai-Chi classes, as well as what fish is good in the cafeteria at dinnertime.

“I walk a lot, from my apartment to the elevator. It’s 99 steps each way and I go back and forth. We used to go visit the care center, and I still go when I can,” Cable said. “No matter how old you are, everything is a learning process.”

As far as technology, Cable said she doesn’t use a computer, preferring to use a typewriter or the old-fashioned pen and paper, which she uses to write to old friends.

The only immediate family member to come was granddaughter Barb Buti, from Chicago. She said her grandmother has always been an inspiration.

“She has worked hard her whole life. She is always vibrant and lively and very giving and religious. I found my grounds and my roots in her,” Buti said. “She inspired me to overcome all the difficulties in my life and she continues to inspire me.”

Dick and Elaine Slagel, who lived in Johnstown, Pa., though not at the same time, were there, as was Jeanne Fijux, who dines with Cable nightly.

A few young people also stopped by. Max Ahmadi, 15, whose father is the executive director of Gulf Coast Village, said for someone to get through events such as the Depression and World War II and reach 100 is amazing.

“It’s great we’re able to give them this kind of care. Having the kindness of other people is something that helps them stay alive,” Ahmadi said. “For someone to come this far is crazy.”