SAULT ST. MARIE — For many people celebrating their 100th birthday is a huge deal, but for the oldest woman in the U.P., that was just another day.
Ebe Toffolo, born in 1906 will believe it or not, be celebrating her 110th birthday on October 19th. After being born in Vermont and moving to other states such as New York and Ohio, Ebe has seen her fair share of historically important events.
At the age of 14, Ebe witnessed the Suffrage Movement where women were given the right to vote.
“When women got the right to vote, we were hilarious, let me tell you. All of us were happy to think that we were going to be apart of the universe,” said Ebe Toffolo. From the shock of first seeing a car to riding an airplane for only ten dollars, there was one event that stuck out more than the rest and that was going to a movie for only a nickel. “By going to the movies on a Saturday afternoon when I got a nickel. If I got a nickel to go to the movies, I was rich,” said Toffolo.
Ebe herself has always loved to have fun and listen to music, she was even considered a flapper during the early 1920’s.
“Well it was one of these girls that, I don’t know what you would call them,” said Toffolo. “Did they like to have fun?” Asked Wendy Pearce, Activities Director. “Oh yeah, my poor Mama when I think back,” said Toffolo.
Ebe spent her days working as a book-keeper in Buffalo, New York along with owning a construction business with her husband, Gidio. Ebe and Gidio were married for over 40 years until he passed away in the late 80’s. One of the saddest parts of history that Ebe still remembers is the feeling when men left to fight in the wars, including her husband. “When our boys were called and went to war, that was a very bad time for us because we knew we would never see some of them again so that was one of the worst things I remembered was that.” Toffolo said.
Ebe has two sons and came up to the U.P., after one of them moved to Sault St. Marie. She now spends her days playing her favorite games Bingo and Yahtzee, at the Hearthside Hospice Home. She is also a large part of the adopt a grandparent program where she enjoys answering children’s questions on her exciting past.
“I remember one time, you and I were up and talking to an eight grade history class and this little girl asked her the question about going on a date, and at the end I always ask if Ebe has any questions for the kids. You asked that little girl, she had bright pink hair, ‘what happened to your hair?’, ” said Wend Pearce, Hearthside Assisted Living Activities Director.
So what is the key to living to be one-hundred and ten? “I think I always had good food at home and I was always taken care of when I was sick, because some people either didn’t have the money or didn’t have the means to go to a doctor,” said Toffolo.
Ebe spreads happiness and joy to all her friends and workers at the Hearthside Hospice Home. Although Ebe is turning one-hundred and ten, the flapper inside of her still knows how to have a goodtime. Sault St. Marie Mayor will be declaring October 19th as Ebe Toffolo day, anyone in the area is invited to her celebration at Hearthside Assisted Living.
If you can’t make her birthday celebration, Wendy is asking anyone to send her a birthday card wishing for her a special day.
The mail address where the letters can be sent to is 1505 W. 24th St. in Sault St. Marie. When sending the card be sure to put Ebe’s full name on the envelope along with “birthday” so workers know to wait until her birthday to give it to her.