DERRY — Louise Audette may say she’s slowing a bit. After all, she had to stop doing her daily visits to a local gym when she was in her mid-90s.
The Derry woman celebrated her 100th birthday this month and was honored by family, friends and the community.
Earlier this month, First Parish Church hosted a party for Audette with family and friends. Last weekend, the Molly Reid Chapter DAR honored her with a 75-year membership pin and also celebrated her century milestone.
Audette was born April 5, 1913, one of seven children back when Derry had about 6,000 residents, the roads were mostly dirt, trains stopped in town and a trip to Boston might take someone more than three hours.
Her family can be traced back generations in this area. Her father, Charles, was a prominent doctor in town. Her mother, Harriet, wrote several volumes on Derry history.
Audette said it was only natural to enjoy a long life as her mother lived to be 95.
“I’ve got good genes,” she said.
The family was a large, busy unit with many interests through the years. Four generations of the family attended Central Congregational Church in Derry.
The world was very different then, according to Derry town historian Richard Holmes, who offered his thoughts on Audette’s milestone at her birthday party.
“Louise was born into an America at peace. We hadn’t fought a war since 1898,” Holmes said. “She would be 4 years old before we sent our doughboys over there to fight in the fields of Flanders during the First World War.”
He also noted when Audette was born bread cost 6 cents a loaf, gasoline was 8 cents per gallon and prime apartment space in Derry could be rented out for only $10 a month.
Audette and her husband Charles were married for 65 years. She was mother to two and stepmother to one son. She is now the grandmother to six, great-grandmother to 10.