Christiansburg woman celebrates 104th birthday during COVID-19 pandemic

Her secret to a long and happy life? ‘Lots of good food!’

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – She has the perfect combination of charm and wit. You’d have no clue Wednesday was her 104th birthday.

Bernadine Lester is a resident of Commonwealth Senior Living at Christiansburg. She was born on April 15, 1916 in Pulaski. She was the youngest of four and only two years old when she lost her mother, to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Bernadine’s daughter Kathy Hall admits it’s strange her mom has lived during two pandemics.

“It’s very strange and the thoughts that that took her mom and this could possibly affect her end of life; it’s very strange,” said Hall.

Visitors are not allowed in Commonwealth Senior Living due to COVID-19, but Hall was determined to make her mom's birthday extra special. She delivered cake and a party hat and was able to blow kisses to her mom through a window. Staff are threw a birthday party for Lester inside the facility and a Zoom meeting was set up so that she could connect with other family members.

When asked the secret to a long and happy life, Lester said ‘eat lots of good food’.

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