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Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff With a birthday Sunday, Gert Cotton will be 104, and the oldest living person in Montgomery County.


River Ridge woman is the oldest person in Montgomery County

Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM


Gert Cotton will be turning 104 years old on Sunday, making her the oldest living person in Montgomery County.

But when people remind her of her age, she acts surprised.

"I don't feel old," she said, touching her face. "Do I have any wrinkles?"

Cotton was the center of attention Friday, at her residence in the River Ridge Living Center in Amsterdam. More than 30 residents, including other centenarians, helped her celebrate her milestone with ice cream, cake and entertainment.

When asked what her secret is to a long life, Cotton shrugged her shoulders, but at the mention of candy, she looked up quickly.

"I used to be rich once but I spent it all on candy and lollipops," she joked.

Cotton was born on Aug. 17, 1910 and was one of 11 children. She lived in Canajoharie her whole life, which was spent teaching grammar school at the Canajoharie School District.

"I don't know if I did it right or not but yes I did teach," she said, laughing.

The staff at River Ridge said in addition to joking around, Cotton is an avid reader and is usually found with several books in her lap.

"She is a character," staff member Stephanie Perillo said.

Kelly Casler of the Montgomery County Office of Aging was also in attendance to celebrate with Cotton.

Casler said she remembered when Cotton turned 100 and how she wanted to be left alone with her books.

"She preferred them over the flowers," Casler said.

Now instead of books, several stuffed animals and dolls are found across her lap, and when Casler handed her two balloons, Cotton held on tight, preferring them over her ice cream and cake.

"All this fuss," Cotton muttered. "It's a mad house."

Cotton is among 25 centenarians who reside in the county, a number that seems to be growing each year, according to Casler.

"Its amazing how many there are," she said. "To know everything they went through and the memories they can share with us is truly a benefit."


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