LEMONT – Olga Donati does not think turning 100 years old is a big deal. But she understands why everyone else thinks it is, because not everyone reaches that age.
Donati celebrated her 100th birthday at a party with family and fellow residents June 5 at Alvernia Manor in Lemont. Her actual birthday was on June 7.
According her niece, Mary Castaldo, Donati lived in Chicago for most of her life.
Castaldo said her aunt had a tough life growing up.
"She would say, 'It was a rugged life,'" she said.
Donati's father died when she was 5, and, growing up in The Depression era, her family had to work hard to make ends meet.
She never married and worked for Sherwin-Williams for 45 years, putting paint in cans.
Castaldo said her aunt was a homebody outside of work and loved to host family and friends.
"She was a great cook," she said. "My favorite memories were sitting around the table, eating some great Italian cooking."
Donati spent several years living with and taking care of her mother and aunt. It was about two years ago that she had to move out of her home in Chicago because of health reasons.
She lived with Castaldo for a while, spending days at Alvernia Manor, before moving into Alvernia Manor about a year ago.
Donati said she does not have a secret for how she has lived so long. Castaldo theorized it may be walking everywhere and eating oatmeal every day.
Donati said she does not feel like she is 100.
"I feel young," she said. "You see yourself, that there's nothing wrong with me."