107 and doing just fine

Mrs. Elizabeth Durant celebrates birthday surrounded by friends at activity center in DeLand

BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF

At age 107, Mrs. Elizabeth Durant keeps busy.

Most of her days are spent at Sender Retreat Adult Activity Center. There are plenty of activities there for Mrs. Durant and the other seniors who attend the day facility – arts and crafts, all kinds of games, exercises, and even dancing.

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The DeLand native turned 107 on Jan. 21 and her friends at Sender Retreat recently helped her celebrate with gifts, balloons, cake and lots of laughter.

‘Amazing woman’
“Mrs. Durant comes to the center every day where she engages in cognitive and social activities,” remarked Ada Randolph, administrator of Sender Retreat.

Randolph called Mrs. Durant an “amazing woman’’ who loves to play cards and participate in other games at the center, located at 1270 Orange Camp Road.

The center has been serving seniors for the past 14 years.

DeLand born, bred
Mrs. Durant was born Elizabeth McArthur on Jan. 21, 1909 to Pauline and John McArthur in DeLand. She had nine children with Fred Durant, her husband of 20-plus years.

She remained a resident of the Spring Hill community in DeLand until two years ago when she moved to Deltona with her daughter Jacquelyn Jenkins.

Mrs. Jenkins told the Daytona Times that her mother had a light stroke about five months ago, has lost some of her hearing, and doesn’t talk much. Despite that, she’s in good health.

Active lifestyle
She contributes her mom’s longevity to good genes and staying active. A grandfather was 132 when he passed away, Mrs. Jenkins said.

“It’s very important to me to keep her active and alert,” said Mrs. Jenkins.

She boasts of how her mother can still “color in the lines’’ in a coloring book.  And until recently, the two participated in the SilverSneakers exercise program for seniors at their local YMCA.

Gardening and making quilts also have been longtime enjoyable pastimes.

‘Sherbet Lady’
Mrs. Durant has worked at DeLand’s Duvall Homes, which cares for people with developmental disabilities as well as Sugar & Spice Learning Center.

Residents in Spring Hill know her as the “Sherbet Lady’’ because of the tasty pineapple ice cups she made. She also is known for “making the best sweet potato pies’’ her daughter added.

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