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Laguna Woods celebrates lives lived long and well

Some very special Laguna Woods residents were honored at a lively luncheon at Clubhouse 5 last month: those age 90 and above. More than five guests had surpassed the 100 mark.

The 175 attendees in the packed clubhouse included loved ones and some caregivers.

Henry Nahoum was among the centenarians. He said there’s no secret to reaching the age of 102.

“It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. And I have nice ladies around me,” he said, smiling broadly at his partner, Bea Travis, 94. Both are residents of The Towers, he for 13 years and she for 14.

A retired orthodontist and professor emeritus at Loma Linda University, Nahoum still teaches occasional classes, he said, and he’s proud of having been proclaimed this year’s Alumnus of the Year by Columbia University in New York. An infantry veteran of World War II, Nahoum also still drives.

Diane Portnoy and Lou Sirkis, both 93, enjoy participating in the Topic Masters discussion group. “It keeps us sharp,” Portnoy said.

Sirkis used to play golf, he said, but now he concentrates on having fun. “I am lucky. I have a good time and don’t worry about anything and love my family,” he said.

Both Portnoy and Sirkis take part in the UC Irvine 90-plus Study on healthy brain aging.

Their table mate, Philip Heitz, 92, said he keeps young by going out dancing. He even had plans to go to the Laguna Woodstock music festival June 25.

June Greenwald will be 95 in August. “I have no idea what keeps me young. I eat a lot of candy,” she said with a laugh.

Her friend Marcia Satz, 91, credits her youthful appearance and vigor to a happy marriage, family and lots of exercise.

Lois Fridlund, 96, lives an active life, cooking her own meals and playing board games, said her caregiver, Sahar. “Lois was a professional singer,” she added.

Alfred Zerner, 92, has been married to his wife, Phillis, 90, for 67 years. “We enjoy the same things, mostly the arts,” he said.

The couple moved to the Village from New York City seven years ago. “We love the activities, the California weather,” Zerner said.

Ramesh Joshi, 90, a retired civil engineer who was born in India, came to the luncheon accompanied by his cousin Krishna Murty, 69.

“I have enjoyed the ambience and the activities here since 2014,” Joshi said, counting the bridge club and the Democratic Club among his activities.

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