109th birthday party brings five generations of family together

Local News

ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – As families get together for Thanksgiving, one family recently got together to celebrate their oldest family member’s 109th birthday.

Five generations of the family got together at the Chemung County Nursing Center for Ruth Touschner’s 109th birthday celebration. Born in 1912, Ruth has lived through two world wars, two economic depressions, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I guess just keep on living is all, I haven’t done anything special,” said Ruth, when asked about how she has lived so long.

Family members included three of her nieces who are all in their nineties. They hadn’t seen each other since before the pandemic.

Ruth’s nieces (left to right): Lucretia Way (92), Thressa Speanburgh (95), Edna Morse (91)

“It was probably a couple of years apart [from each other]… it was good to have this, for them too,” said Bob Russell, Ruth’s great-nephew.

Ruth was happiest to embrace the youngest member of the family, her great-great-granddaughter

“The way that they [Ruth and her great-great-granddaughter] look at each other and lean forward and touch foreheads, it’s a different experience,” said Mary Stangl, Ruth’s great-granddaughter.

The family reminisced about the favorite memories they shared with Ruth.

“She had a candy dish like all grandma’s do, that… I would always look forward to,” said Claire Touschner, Ruth’s great-grandaughter)

Ruth lived on her own until she was 103 years old. Her family talked about how active she always has been even at her old age.

“I think she could still do everything on her own today…even in her nineties, she’d be on a ladder doing something,” said Scott Touschner, Ruth’s Grandson.

In honor of Ruth’s longevity, Chemung County Executive Chris Moss proclaimed November 21st as Ruth Touschner Day. The family is hoping to reunite next year for ruth’s 110th.

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