In her younger years, Elvira Iannelli Tartaglia was quite the cook.
“She loved to cook,” Marie Tartaglia Feeley said yesterday afternoon. “Any time you walked into her house – no matter what time of day it was – there was always something to eat.”
Yesterday was no different, as Elvira Tartaglia, whom everyone knows as “Helen,” offered pieces of her birthday cake to friends, family and Mayor Joseph Polisena at Cherry Hill Manor, where she lives.
Tartaglia was born in Cranston on April 9, 1912, and this week celebrated her 100th birthday.
The dining room at Cherry Hill Manor was decked out for the occasion, with balloons, centerpieces and plenty of flowers.
“My mother loved flowers,” said Jean Tartaglia Lucier, who lives in Johnston. “She also loved farming ... she did that with her husband on their farm in Johnston.”
Lucier, and her sister Marie and husband Jim Feeley, were on hand to help mom celebrate her birthday. Tartaglia also has a son, John Tartaglia.
“When our mother was younger, she did lots of hard work on the farm,” Marie said. “She not only did farming, she also cleaned three houses. She was really a special lady back then – as well as today.”
Tartaglia, who has lived at Cherry Hill Manor for the past nine years, has five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Yesterday’s celebration concluded with Polisena bestowing the town’s newest 100-year-old resident with his most sincere wishes and presenting Tartaglia with an official commendation from the Town of Johnston.
Text and photos by Pete Fontaine.