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Long Island Woman Receives Special Tribute On Her 100th Birthday

BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island woman received special honors on Monday as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, even as she enters her second century, she's still very active in her community.

There was hearty applause from hundreds of well-wishers in Bay Shore, along with hugs, kisses and birthday wishes for a woman born during World War I and who immigrated to America from Italy with her family.

"I was only 3 months old when I came over, so from 1915 on," said Mary Magnani.

Magnani is a rock star to the folks who know her so well. The longtime Suffolk County resident was first a teacher for more than 30 years and then a volunteer at Good Samaritan Hospital since it opened in 1959.

"She volunteered until she was 99 and when she couldn't do that anymore, she started writing the history of our guild," said Marie Nicharico, with Good Samaritan Hospital Volunteers Guild.

Most people remember Magnani as the woman who greeted them when they went looking for bargains at the Good Samaritan Hospital Thrift Shop, Rose reported.

"It was a bonus for them to come and shop for children's clothing at really good prices for families with large numbers of kids," explained Magnani.

Magnani's own large extended family can always count on her to regale them with stories from the past.

"It's amazing how much she can remember going back. While she can't remember if she took her pill that morning, she can remember selling pickles 80 years ago," said Magnani's niece Teresa Trovato.

On Monday, she was honored with a state Senate proclamation for her life's work that she summed up with this advice: "Not to give up and not to be disappointed by failures. Failures can help you gain information for whatever you need to take the next step, which will be success."

Although officially retired, Magnani said she now spends all of her time receiving visitors. So she's still spreading joy even on her 100th birthday.

Magnani added that she has no regrets because she lived the life she wanted to.


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