Starling resident celebrates 102nd birthday


When Dorothy “Dot” Coy was born, life expectancy for women was 56. But today, just having celebrated her 102nd birthday, the resident of Starling at Nocatee Assisted Living & Memory Care is still going strong.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said grandson Matt Coy, who was visiting during her birthday party on June 25. “It’s hard to fathom what she’s experienced compared to what I’ve done in half the time with everything that her generation went through — the wars, the Depression — it’s amazing.”

The year was 1919. The most popular car was the Ford Model T. A first-class postage stamp was 3 cents. And American women were still a year away from being granted the right to vote.

Dorothy was given one of the three most popular girls’ names at the time. She was one of 11 children, and her family lived on a farm in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

Located in Amish Country, it was a place not significantly impacted by the events of the nation and world.

“We were happy,” Dorothy recalled. “We didn’t know anything about the Depression. That didn’t mean anything. We had everything we needed in the country.”

She remained in Chambersburg until her marriage, when she joined her new husband in nearby Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.

She worked in a factory for a while, but then she and her husband owned a restaurant, which she largely ran herself while her husband sold insurance. After they sold the restaurant, Dorothy Coy went to work in the food service department for the Shippensburg Area School District.

Over time, she worked her way up to become the district’s superintendent for food service, a position she eventually retired from.

She and her husband had three boys, one of them the father of Matt Coy, who made his home in North Carolina until recently when he moved his family to Northeast Florida.

With so few relatives remaining in Pennsylvania and so many of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren now living on the First Coast, she was ready to make the move to St. Johns County.

“We went and picked her up on May 22,” said Matt Coy. “We brought her to Starling on May 30, 31.”

He was pleased with the selection of Starling, saying it was better than the Pennsylvania facility his grandmother had been in.

“I think the level of care is definitely appropriate,” he added.

As for Dorothy Coy, she said having family nearby was “heavenly.”