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Lehigh woman turns 109, cites healthy diet for her long life

May 24, 2017
By GABRIELA HARDAN ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

With a spunky fun personality, Lehigh Acres resident Dora Sontana turned 109 on May 22.

As her health continues to prosper, Sontana spends her days with her daughter, Jean Tocci, and loves receiving company from people.

"It's amazing to know that she's turning 109," Tocci said. "No one in the family has lived that long.

Article Photos

Lehigh Acres resident Dora Sontana, seated, celebrated her 109th birthday on May 22. She attributes her long life to a good diet. Shown with her daughter, Jean Tocci.

"She's wonderful for her age and she's healthy, so we're very fortunate,"?she added.

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, and of Italian descent, Sontana had five siblings. She remembers her childhood consisting of her mother teaching her how to cook family recipes after school.

She said she would typically come home from school, clean up around the house, play with her friends outside and accompany her mom in the kitchen.

She also played the piano and violin, however, she said she did not enjoy violin too much.

Sontana recalled her favorite memory from childhood being outside with her friends playing jump rope outside of her house.

She worked as a seamstress in her early days and raised two children with her husband, Salvatore, whom she married in 1928.

Sontana and her husband moved to Lehigh once they retired as they had a family member here.

Salvatore Sontana passed away in 2001 at the age of 95.

"She loves seeing her five grandchildren come over and she's happy to see people coming and talking and gathering around," Tocci said. "She enjoys all that.

"She likes to talk and she likes company,"?she added. "She likes games and card games."

Tocci said she loves her mother living with her. They enjoy each other's company and do things together at home.

Tocci said it gives her the opportunity to cook for someone, watch TV with someone and have conversations with someone.

Sontana typically spends her days eating meals with her daughter and watching her favorite game shows on TV. She enjoys Italian food more than any other type.

Aside from some minor arthritis, Sontana is in good health.

Sontana revealed her secret as to why she feels she has lived such a long healthy life.

"I kept so healthy from eating good and having a good diet," she said. "I never smoked."

"It's from a good diet," Sontana ?added. "I was never sick."

Tocci recalled that when growing up, Sontana never allowed soda in the house or junk food. As a mother, she was always strict about eating well with her children.

Tocci feels as though that has played the biggest role in her mother's good health and long life.

Although Sontana has lost some of her hearing, Tocci said she and her mother still have great conversations with each other.

She said celebrating her mother's 109th birthday is an incredible experience to share with her.

"She was always a good mom," Tocci said. "She always made us things we liked to eat and she was very good in the house. She took care of us well."

"She was always there for me, I could go to her and talk to her and have fun with her," she added. "She has been a wonderful mom growing up."



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