SOMERS, N.Y. - Theresa Gianguzzi’s friends and family members surprised her with a birthday luncheon at the Van Tassel House to celebrate her 100th birthday.

When asked how she felt now that she was 100 years old, Gianguzzi said “ecstatic.”

Gianguzzi has lived in the area since 1976 and is a regular to the Somers Adult Transportation, Nutrition and Activity Center, which operates out of the Van Tassel House. Prior to living in Somers, she and her family visited a vacation home in Lincolndale, which was in the family for three generations.

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“Anytime we have questions, we ask her,” said Barbara Taberer, program director of the center. “She took trains that aren’t even here anymore. She’s the historian.”

Some of Gianguzzi’s secrets to a life of longevity are sticking to a Mediterranean diet and being an avid exerciser. She played Double Dutch well into her 60s and to this day she weight trains. She did admit to having a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to chocolate, and said an indulgence now and then is fine.

Taberer, who has worked at the center as long as Gianguzzi has been coming in, said they used to throw big parties such as this for folks who hit their 90th birthdays. Now, she said people are living longer and she’s happy to say they’ve been celebrating birthdays for people well into their 90s. She predicts the center will host more 100th birthday parties in the future.

“As people become older it’s just a part of that process that they’re going to lose a lot of their friends,” Taberer said. “I find that the ones who do the best are the ones that are able to recover from that and make new friends. A positive attitude is also very important and to continue to look forward no matter how old you are.”

A positive outlook and an ability to make new friends are qualities Taberer said Gianguzzi certainly possesses.

“We call her the mayor,” she said. “Anytime someone new comes in she gives them a big welcome.”