Monday, June 18, 2001

Sarah Armstrong, pictured at 100 years old, is now 107 and
believed to be the oldest person in Mililani Mauka.

woman enjoys

She is believed to be the
oldest woman in Mililani Mauka

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Once a singer who toured Scotland with an opera company, a Mililani resident continues to celebrate her vitality as she surpasses a century of longevity.

Members of the Mililani Mauka/Launani Valley Neighborhood Board will recognize Sarah Armstrong, who recently turned 107, during their 7 p.m. board meeting tomorrow at Mililani Mauka Elementary School.

Being that age is an accomplishment in itself, board member Jeanette Nekota said.

"She's the oldest known woman in Mililani Mauka," Nekota said.

State Rep. Marilyn Lee and Sen. Ron Menor are expected to present Armstrong with a certificate. Honolulu City Councilwoman Rene Mansho also is expected to attend.

Armstrong celebrated her 107th birthday with family May 19. It was not a big fuss for her, said her daughter, Nona Minami.

Born in Duntocher, Scotland, in 1894, Armstrong married her husband, Alexander, on Christmas Day in 1923. He died of a heart attack in 1971.

Twenty years later, Armstrong moved in with her daughter and her husband, Kiyoshi, in Mililani Mauka.

"She's very independent. She's very alert," Minami said. Still, "we figured at 97, she shouldn't be living alone."

Armstrong's day is spent writing to her friends and reading.

"She reads the paper from cover to cover," Minami said. "She's very interested in what's going on."

She also maintains contact with more than 50 friends in Pittsburgh.

"She has so much correspondence, we got her a new desk," Minami said.

Although Armstrong enjoys eating chocolate cake or coffee ice cream after dinner, she is particular about her food intake.

"She eats no local food whatsoever," said Minami, 76. "She prefers her beef and vegetables."

For breakfast, Armstrong has a bowl of raisin bran along with a slice of papaya, a glass of orange juice and British hot tea. Lunch includes more tea and griddle scones made with flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, butter, sugar and milk. Dinner includes ground beef or home-baked, skinless chicken made without salt or pepper.

During her early 20s, Armstrong was a singer for the Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta, an opera company in Britain. She toured in Scotland during World War I.

Armstrong also worked as a payroll clerk in Scotland while her husband served in the British Army. After the war the Armstrongs moved to Massachusetts, where her husband got a job as a ship engineer in 1928.

The family then moved to Ohio and later to Pittsburgh.

To fulfill her love for singing, "she continued to sing throughout her life in churches," Minami said.

Armstrong has since suffered hearing loss and gets around with the assistance of a walker. Occasionally, Armstrong enjoys going to restaurants, preferably along the beach.

"She loves to look at the ocean," said Minami, who moved to Lanai in 1947. She met her husband at Lanai High School where both were teachers.

Overall, Armstrong's content with spending most of her time with family members, including her six grandchildren.

"She enjoys that the most," Minami said.

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