Lady of Charity still serving at 103

by | Jan 25, 2012 | International Association of Charities - Ladies of Charity, Vincentian Family

The Buffalo News reports on Lillian Nichter’s 103 birthday and  70 years serving as a Lady of Charity. She probably holds the record for longest period of service with the Ladies of Charity not only in Buffalo but also the United States and maybe even the world.

The Buffalo News article continues… “Tuesday was supposed to be Lillian Nichter’s day to volunteer at Ladies of Charity on Broadway — something she’s been doing for an astonishing 70 years. The only thing that interrupted that routine was the party to celebrate her 103rd birthday.

“I always have to have something to do,” she said during the birthday celebration with balloons and cake. “I want to keep busy.”

Nichter has volunteered there for the past seven decades. Her actual birthday is Thursday but it was celebrated Tuesday at the charity, which is one of her regular volunteer days. More than two dozen people attended the party.

Up until very recently, she was a cashier at the Lots of Clothes thrift store, which is open to the public at Ladies of Charity. These days, Nichter volunteers two or three days a week bagging purchases for the cashier.

“I’m not one to sit,” she said.

Keeping busy with the customers is just one of her secrets to feeling youthful.

“I never smoked. I like a cocktail at a party, but I never drink alone,” said the mother of three, who also has nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

She has experienced a lot over the decades. She grew up on Buffalo’s East Side and remembers when the streets were made of cobblestone. During the Great Depression, her husband, Norman, caught squirrels to feed the family. He died in 1990.

She has lived in the same house since 1940, and not only does she get dressed every day — mostly in slacks with a blouse, sweater and/or jacket — she applies her own makeup and picks out jewelry to match her outfits.

“You’ll never find her in a pair of sweat pants,” said her daughter-in-law, Linda, who is married to Nichter’s son, Jim.

In addition to her volunteer work at the Ladies of Charity, Nichter is very active at her church, Blessed Sacrament of Buffalo on Delaware Avenue. She’s a greeter every Sunday for the 9 a.m. Mass and usually arrives at least a half-hour early.

A parishioner there since the church opened in 1930, Nichter also sits on several committees and serves as a trustee. And she used to head the cleaning committee.

As busy as she is, the centenarian-plus is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. At a doctor’s appointment earlier this week, she received a good report.

“Her blood pressure was great. Her heart is so good, the doctor told her to keep doing whatever she’s doing,” Linda said.

Part of what she does is pop in a CD and dance across the floor, Linda said. She loves piano music and church hymns mostly, but play anything with a good beat, and she’ll dance to that, too, Linda said.

Nichter recently joined a monthly support group for widows and widowers. Always one to enjoy meeting and talking with others, she was honored by the club for the best joke.

For her 100th birthday, her family took her on a trip to the Grand Canyon, where she went for a two-hour helicopter ride and kept the pilot engaged in conversation the whole time.

“She’s a jewel to all,” Linda said. “She loves life. She lives it to the fullest.

For pictures visit the Buffalo News website.

Tags: Buffalo, LCUSA


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