.

Portsmouth Man Celebrates 108th Birthday! [VIDEO]

Zenon "Babe" St. Laurent, the oldest man in town and nearly oldest in state, celebrated his 108th birthday by dancing the waltz on Thursday, July 19.

Can you imagine living 108 years? What about dancing? Believe it or not, one Portsmouth man is still dancing, playing guitar in a band and shooting billiard pool at 108-years-old. 

, an Island Park resident, celebrated his 108th birthday with a party on Thursday. 

St. Laurent says he's made it to 108 because he "has the will to live." 

A luncheon was held in Babe's honor Thursday at , where dozens gathered to congratulate the oldest person in town. 

St. Laurent was all smiles as he viewed a white-frosted sheet cake that displayed the words "Happy 108th Birthday Babe."

He also requested a waltz be played by the performer. He also took more than one spin around the dance floor — at 108! 

Check out the video at right to view Babe dancing. 

Born in Fall River, MA, in 1904, St. Laurent went to work at a cotton mill there at the age of 14, earning only $11 a week.

St. Laurent talks about once owning a farm and selling chickens before opening the St. Laurent's Five and Dime, located on Park Avenue, which he operated from 1947 to 1969. The initiative, he says, to open the Five and Dime came from his late wife, Lillian (Bouchard) St. Laurent.

St. Laurent, who still resides in the house he built on Riverside Street, remains active at the age of 108.

He has cut back slightly on playing billiards, because of his hands, he says, but still goes dancing every Tuesday afternoon at the Liberal Club in Tiverton. He also walks about 20 to 30 minutes every day in his yard.

"Take care of your body," St. Laurent says as advice. "All the bumps and bruises, I feel them now."

The Portsmouth Town Council traditionally awards a cane to the oldest-living resident, but Babe passed on the offer, his son said in 2011. 

"He didn't want it," said Dennis St. Laurent. "He was like 'I don't need a cane.' "

At the Portsmouth Senior Center, the recreation area bears a plaque in his name: the Zenon "Babe" St. Laurent Game Room. A bocce court, located behind the senior center, was also built in his honor several years ago.

St. Laurent might be the oldest man in town, but not the state. Louise Silva of Cranston celebrated her 109th birthday this past year, making her the oldest in the state, according to the Department of Elderly Affairs. 

However, according to St. Laurent, he has a major advantage over those older residents. 

"They're not dancing," he says. "They are in homes and in bed. That's not living." 

John ("Anything But Sue") July 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Hat's off to you "Babe". (Don't eat the cake..but I'm sure you know this) I moved into Island Park in 1966. Never went to your store but i remember it. The building was there for decades afterward..unused. I always wondered what the story was.
Joe Sousa. July 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM
I remember buying the black snakes that smoke when you lite them . I bought penny candy too. I was about eight or nine when the Five and Dime closed.
Sandy McGee July 20, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I just added more photos of Babe's birthday party, including one of him blowing his candles out on his 108th birthday cake! Thank-you Joe Bashour for taking these photos.
Diane Silvia July 20, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Wow 108 Happy Birthday, & still living in your own home, God bless

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something