By Fran Pelham
“I like hugs,” said Dorothy Dorey, who hugged dozens of family members, neighbors, and friends at a party to celebrate her 100th birthday in March 2022 in Surf City, her hometown.
Granddaughters, Lorene, and Cyndi said, “Grandmom is very up-to-date on many things; she’ll even talk politics for hours.”
When asked about her secret to a long, healthy life, Dorothy responded, “Coming from a family of seven daughters, my mother insured the family ate a healthy diet of fresh fish — provided by a fisherman neighbor-relative every day — and fresh vegetables from her garden. Each night my parents and all of us children sat down together for dinner. My happiest childhood memories are of my father pulling into the driveway each night.” Her father, Charles Cox served as Ocean County Road Surveyor, and had an office in in the courthouse in Toms River.
Looking back over the decades Dorothy maintains that her secret to life is “Being in the moment! Enjoying all the good I have right now in life including my three children, four grandchildren and eight greatgrandchildren.”
Most of her life Dorothy has lived by the seaside in New Jersey towns. “My best memories of Long Beach Island are walking the beach collecting bits of colored sea glass, playing cards with my pinochle group, and taking my kids to their many activities. I belonged to a book club and kept a reading diary of the books I read, but I don’t know where that diary is now.” As a resident of LBI Dorothy keeps herself busy by attending events at Long Beach Island Historical Museum in Beach Haven with her son, Chris who lives with her, “And, oh my, I love grocery shopping,” she added.
Dorothy’s blue eyes twinkle with joy as she recalls attending a rally in Trenton, New Jersey the 1950s. “President Eisenhower walked over to me in the large crowd and kissed my baby Sheila. My friend who drove us to the rally seemed a bit miffed that the President didn’t kiss her baby.”
As out of state family members collect balloons, birthday cards and gifts, and the party winds down, they look forward to future celebrations for Dorothy — perhaps as a supercentenarian.