Fri December 17, 2021
BATAVIA – Curtistine Matthews knows a thing or two about living a happy, long life.
At 99 years old, Matthews of Batavia is quick to laugh and does so often. Her laughter peals out of her petite frame with such ease and a frequency maybe few these days could match. She laughs with her heart and soul.
Matthews, a member of the Batavia Park District’s Batavia Senior Citizens Club since 2014, received special recognition during the BSCC’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 15. She turned 99 on Monday, Dec. 13, and – in addition to the tradition of group members singing “Happy Birthday” to everyone celebrating a December birthday – Matthews received roses, additional bouquets of flowers and extra attention for her milestone achievement.
People have been calling her home all week to wish her a happy birthday, she said.
“Somebody put it on Facebook. I joked I needed a secretary,” she said chuckling. “Some didn’t know if I was still here or not” until reading the Facebook post. When some told her they were glad to hear it, she said “well I’m glad I’m still here, too!”
Matthews, who has lived in Batavia for about 47 years, said multiple members invited her to join BSCC, and she’s happy she did. She said she enjoys the fellowship and friendships she’s formed, diverse entertainment acts for each monthly meeting, wonderful lunches and interesting trips. The group helps her to stay active, and anyone who sees Matthews knows she can’t not be active.
BSCC President Glad Cook likened Matthews to iconic actress Betty White, who turns 100 on Jan. 17.
“I like to be moving around. You can’t sit. Move your body. Be thankful for it and move it around,” Matthews said, laughing. “It’s yours (so) take care of it.”
Matthews has been a widow since 2008 when her husband, Willie Matthews Sr., died. He helped create Trinity Chapel Church of God in Christ, 404 Lathem St. in Batavia, and served as its first pastor until his death. The couple was married for 65 years. Their son, Charles, 76, now serves as the church’s pastor.
“I was faithful to him and my family and have no regrets,” she explained. “I miss him, but thank God for the time we had together. Learn to appreciate what you have.”
She enjoys meeting new people and making friends through BSCC and said the group provides an opportunity to socialize with a variety of fellow seniors. Her son and his wife also are BSCC members.
“I really had a happy 99th birthday. It’s like everybody said ‘I better catch her when I can,’” Matthews said as she burst out laughing.
To join BSCC, call the Civic Center at 630-879-5235 or the Eastside Community Center at 630-406-5282 and ask to join. The annual membership rate is $15. Or stop by either center between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and ask to sign up. A monthly group newsletter is available for free with membership.
For more information on our Batavia Park District programs and events, call (630) 879-5235 or visit bataviaparks.org.