Story by Mary Morrell, Correspondent
Longtime parishioner Ambrose “Amby” LeVan, 106 years old in November, was honored Nov. 26 at the end of the 10 a.m. Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral Parish, Freehold.
A resident of Applewood Estates, Freehold, LeVan was presented with a formal proclamation from the Township of Freehold, read by Freehold Township Mayor Lester A. Preston Jr.; committeeman and former mayor, Anthony J. Ammiano, and former mayor Dorothy Avallone, who is also a longtime parishioner.
The proclamation was the first of its kind, recognizing a resident for his/her longevity and service to the community, township officials said.
Father Daniel Gowen, parochial vicar and celebrant of the Mass, and Deacon Frank Weber, who assisted at Mass, congratulated LeVan as he sat in a front pew with his daughter, Joan. LeVan attends Mass regularly and just started using a walker for a bit of support.
LeVan, an inventor and engineer, moved to Applewood 24 years ago with his wife Dottie, who died in 2003 after 67 years of marriage at the age of 98.
In an interview with The Freehold Patch, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, LeVan said, “I attribute my long life to the 67 years I spent married to my wife. When you have the love of a wonderful woman behind you, you can face just about anything.”
The centenarian, who Applewood staff refer to as “amazing,” continues to stay active through swimming, exercise classes, singing in the chorus, and even tuning the estate’s piano.
LeVan’s 106th birthday was celebrated by Applewood friends and staff during their monthly cocktail party, where a birthday cake and strains of “Happy Birthday” were on the menu.
Applewood Estates is a senior living community sponsored by CentraState Healthcare System.