Local woman celebrates 100th birthday

  • 100 year-old Esther LaPierre, left, with son Bob LaPierre, read birthday cards at Charlene Manor in Greenfield, Friday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • 100 year-old Esther LaPierre inside Charlene Manor Extended Care in Greenfield Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Friday, December 08, 2017

GREENFIELD — When she was a young girl growing up in Rowe, Esther Davenport LaPierre’s family was the first in town to get electricity.

A lifelong musician, she would ride the milk wagon to and from Charlemont for piano lessons, and tended to the cows on her family’s farm on Davenport Road.

On Friday, LaPierre celebrated her 100th birthday at Charlene Manor in Greenfield, joined by 55 relatives and numerous other residents at the nursing facility. Family members traveled from as far as California, Florida and North Carolina to join her.

“I think I’m pretty lucky to get there, not many people get that far,” LaPierre said while opening cards and gifts. “I’ll have to behave myself.”

A professional musician her entire life, she taught piano for more than 40 years and met her husband, Francis, when she took guitar lessons from him. The two were married in July 1936.

“They fell in love and that was it,” said Rick LaPierre, 67, one of the couple’s five children.

LaPierre went to Greenfield High School at age 14 and graduated two years later. Her father then sent her to Bliss Business School in North Adams — a rare venture for a woman at the time.

“She was a smarty,” Rick LaPierre said, adding, “She used those skills to take care of the family business accounting her whole life.”

In addition to her five children, who were raised in Shelburne Falls, LaPierre has grandchildren, great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren.

Her family plans to throw her a private party today — her actual birthday — and her son said she’ll be thrilled.

“She is singularly the most positive-view-on-life person you could ever meet. She never complains, she always has a smile,” Rick LaPierre said.

Esther LaPierre’s best piece of advice after 100 years? “Just be happy.”